After a controversial period of 17 long years, the American owners of Manchester United — the Glazer family — have announced on 23 November 2022, that they are looking for new investments and exploring other options for the Red Devils as they intend to leave Old Trafford. And now, technology giant Apple has apparently shown a keen interest in buying the football club.
This announcement came shortly after star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo departed from Old Trafford with mutual consent and a potential buyout seems imminent.
Everything we know about the Manchester United sale
Apple to buy out Manchester United?
Man U is one of the most successful football clubs of all time. The company’s board of directors, also known as the ‘Board’ has announced via an official statement that the company ‘is commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club.’
Now, The Daily Star reports that American tech giant Apple has expressed interest in buying the club for a whopping GBP 5.8 billion (about USD 7 billion). Though this will be the California-based firm’s first foray into the sports field, the commercial prospects are what have reportedly piqued the interests of CEO Tim Cook and other Apple bosses.
If the deal goes through, this will become the most expensive football buyout and can also see a new state-of-the-art stadium being built for Man U.
But referring to The Daily Star’s report, MacRumors said that their “source with direct knowledge of the situation said the report is false.”
What does the official Manchester United statement imply?
Aimed at enhancing the club’s growth and future, the statement mentions that this step is crucial to help the company bank on both on-field and off-field commercial opportunities. It further reads, “As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company.”
Making things clear and transparent for fans and curious readers, the Glazers announced that this process of an eventual buyout is going to be quite a long-drawn one and “will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.”
Money matters and Man U value
According to The Sun, the owners are seeking a valuation of a mammoth GBP 9 billion (about USD 10.68 billion). If the deal goes through, this will make Manchester United the most valued and expensive football club of all time and will also surpass the record set by the Dallas Cowboys, who have a reported valuation of GBP 7.23 billion (about USD 8.58 billion).
The acclaimed Raine Group, which oversaw the sale of Chelsea, has been roped in as the financial advisor for the Red Devils while Latham & Watkins LLP is the legal counsel.
The Guardian reports that Manchester United has received a recent valuation of GBP 3.75 billion (roughly USD 4.45 billion) but since American business tycoon Todd Boehly paid GBP 4.25 billion for Chelsea in May (about USD 5.04 billion), Old Trafford is expected to pool in some more bucks. A Sky Sports report also says that the club’s value shot up by 17 percent right after the news broke, adding nearly USD 400 million to its market capitalisation.
What do the Glazers have to say?
Manchester United’s Executive Co-Chairmen and Directors, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said, “The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers. As we seek to continue building on the Club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives. We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future.”
They further added, “Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
The family has also appointed Rothschild and Co. as the exclusive financial advisor to their shareholders.
(Main image credit: Nat Callaghan/ @callacrap/ Unsplash; Featured image credit: Dan Parker/ @dparker07/ Unsplash)