Glazer family to put Manchester United up for sale

Glazer family to put Manchester United up for sale

Updated: 7 days, 4 hours, 28 minutes, 35 seconds ago

Manchester United, one of world's most valuable soccer teams, will soon go on the auction block as its American owners gear up to entertain offers for a potential sale, the team announced Tuesday. 

Members of the Glazer family, which have owned the team for almost two decades, have hired a financial adviser to explore a full or partial sale, the club said. The Glazers, who also own the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, paid $939 million for Manchester United in 2005. 

The Glazers are looking for new investments in the team to help with stadium upgrades and business expansions, Manchester United said. The club's governing board "will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale or other transactions," it said in a statement. 

'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," Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said in a statement. "Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders and various stakeholders."

It's unclear what price the Glazers will ask for United. Forbes values the club at $4.6 billion. Manchester United, whose shares trade publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, sported a market worth on Tuesday of $2.4 billion. The team's stock price shot up 15% on Tuesday to $14.94. 

In the 2020-21 season, Manchester United generated revenue of roughly $572 million, ranking it No. 5 in the world among professional clubs, according to Deloitte. Premier League arch-rival Manchester City topped topped the consulting firm's list, with revenue of $661 million.

In May, a consortium of investors led by American businessman Todd Boehly struck a deal to buy Chelsea FC, which like Manchester United competes in the Premier League, for up to $4.9 billion.  

Ronaldo departs

News of a potential United sale comes just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo severed his contract with the club. His contract was due to expire at the end of this season, but he will now start searching for his fourth club in a little over four years.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect," the club said in a statement. "The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future."

The record goal-scorer in men's international soccer rejected a new offer from a Saudi Arabian club this year, but CBS Sports reported over the summer that a rival suitor in the country might be interested in his services if he left Manchester United. 

A sale would be a welcome change for many Man United fans, who have grown sour on the Glazers' ownership. The famed club hasn't won a Premier League title since 2013.

Several billionaires are expected to line up as potential candidates to buy the club. One wealthy individual has already backed out of the running. Jim Ratcliffe, owner of British chemical company INEOS, said earlier this month that he would not bid for the team, the Associated Press reported.

Khristopher J. Brooks