Manchester United takeover: Sheikh Jassim submits improved fourth bid for full ownership
Sheikh Jassim has submitted an improved bid in his attempt to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family, according to reports. Both Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister, and his rival Sir Jim Ratcliffe had submitted what had been expected to be their third and final bids for the club last month. But amid growing confidence in the Ratcliffe camp, Sheikh Jassim has increased the value of his offer, which as before is for 100 per cent of the club, will clear all debt and includes a separate fund directed solely at the club and community. Officials and staff inside Old Trafford are eager for clarity over the takeover situation, which began in November when United announced that the board was exploring "strategic alternatives" to enhance the club's growth, with a full sale one option being considered. Sheikh Jassim was the first prospective owner to publicly confirm a bid during the first round back in February and was soon joined by Ratcliffe, the Manchester-born owner of INEOS. The first quarter of the year was initially recognised as a key time in a process that has rumbled on and threatened to overshadow United's push for a Champions League qualification place. February's soft deadline was followed by a second deadline in March for those that progressed, with Raine Group, brought in to oversee the sale, then asking interested parties for their third and final bid on April 28. United fans have made clear their desire for a full buy-out from the Glazers, who have been unpopular since their leveraged takeover of the club in 2005.
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