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Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the richest man in Britain, has ruled out a Liverpool takeover bid in order to focus on his ambitions with Nice.
It emerged on Monday that owner Fenway Sports Group (FSG) is willing to sell the Reds after 12 years at the helm. The sports investment company bought the club for £300million in 2010 and has witnessed the value of its asset skyrocket.
Liverpool were rated at £3.5billion by Forbes in May and FSG has set an enormous asking price of £4bn to sell up. INEOS chief executive Ratcliffe is worth over £10bn, making him one of a select group of potential investors who could afford to take charge at Anfield.
The 70-year-old has embarked on many sporting ventures in the past and has owned Ligue 1 club Nice since August 2019. A boyhood Manchester United fan who has been a season-ticket holder at Stamford Bridge, Ratcliffe failed with a late bid to try and buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich earlier this year.
On Tuesday, he ruled himself out of attempting to purchase Liverpool, stressing that there is "better value" to be found in the French top flight, where he aspires for Nice to challenge Paris Saint-Germain. A spokesperson for Ratcliffe told the Daily Telegraph : "Our position has developed since the summer and we are now focusing our efforts in Nice and raising our ambitions for the club to make them into a top-tier club in France to compete with PSG.
"This would represent much better value for our investment than buying one of the top-tier Premier League clubs."
In the summer, Ratcliffe suggested he could attempt to take over Manchester United, but this latest development means those plans are off the table. He bought Nice for £91million three years ago and is intent on turning them into a force to challenge PSG, who are backed by the financial might of Middle Eastern state Qatar.
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Speaking back in 2018, Ratcliffe opened up on his sporting allegiances, telling the Daily Telegraph : "I am a season ticket holder at Chelsea. Have been for years, although I'm a Manchester United fan really."
More recently, he acknowledged the vast revenues generated by a select group of giant clubs across Europe. "If you've got the highest revenues, you can afford the best players, you play the best football," Ratcliffe said last month.
"Manchester United is one of those, it was one of those top three clubs. The two in Spain, [Real] Madrid and Barca [ Barcelona ], then Manchester United. They all earned revenues of about £800m. A few more have joined that club now, of course. You've got Bayern Munich, you've got PSG. You've got, I can hardly say it, Manchester City. And Liverpool."
Despite his awareness of the vast sums of money the likes of Liverpool and United generate, this latest statement rules Ratcliffe out of a foray into Premier League ownership in the near future.