THE RACE FOR MAN UNITED: Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Apple and Amancio Ortega all in frame

THE RACE FOR MAN UNITED: Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Apple and Amancio Ortega all in frame

Updated: 3 days, 16 hours, 3 minutes, 10 seconds ago

The announcement that the Glazer family has put Manchester United up for sale after 17 years of ownership has already led to a number of their fellow billionaires expressing interest.

Manchester United are one of the most popular sports teams in the world, with the Glazers claiming in their announcement on Tuesday that United have 1.1billion supporters.  

Given that Chelsea Football Club sold for £4.25billion earlier in the year, the belief around Old Trafford is that a figure north of £5bn will be needed for any interested billionaire to win the race to buy Manchester United.  


US tech giant Apple and Spanish fashion mogul Amancio Ortega both reportedly lodged their interest with executives at Manchester United, joining a host of big names to have previously expressed their desire to take the reigns at Old Trafford. 

Speaking for the first time publicly since Tuesday's announcement that the club was up for sale for the first time in 17 years, Avram Glazer said, when confronted by a Sky News reporter in Palm Beach, Florida, 'as we announced yesterday, the board went through a process and it has decided it is going to look at different strategic alternatives.

Furious Manchester United supporters have long protested before, during and after matches, against the Glazer family's ownership, with a green and gold campaign becoming increasingly prominent in the last decade. 

The Glazers, who also own NFL American football franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers,  won't, however, be forced out on the cheap, and suitors will not be able to gain control of United for a bargain price. 

The Raine Group, who helped facility Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital's joint-takeover of Chelsea in the summer, is acting as the Glazers' exclusive financial advisor. 

With Liverpool also on the market, after their owners Fenway Sports Group confirmed their willingness to sanction a full sale, interested bidders are likely to consider both clubs - but United remains an incredibly attractive proposition given the commercial pull the club has following decades of success.  

The Glazers confirmed this week that they are ready to sell United after 17 years at the club The Glazers confirmed this week that they are ready to sell United after 17 years at the club

The Glazers confirmed this week that they are ready to sell United after 17 years at the club

News of reported interest from US technology giant Apple was celebrated by fans on Thursday, with the world's largest tech company interested in acquiring the club for £5.8billion, according to the Daily Star.

Apple are not alone in this but they have never previously owned a sports team and as such it would be a monumental job to take control of one of the biggest football teams in the world.

As music streaming platform Spotify are finding now, as shirt and stadium sponsor of Spanish team FC Barcelona, the commercial opportunities that United would provide are said to be a primary factor in their interest. 

Likewise, Spanish fashion billionaire Amancio Ortega has never been involved in owning or running a professional sports team, but he has reportedly informed United executives of his interest. 

The 86-year-old, who is the founder of fashion giant Zara,  is reported to be worth $61.3billion, according to Forbes' billionaire rich-list. 

The Manchester Evening News have detailed that Ortega has 'already spoken to Old Trafford executives' to declare his interest in buying United, but the amount he is willing to pay for it remains undisclosed.

Ortega, who has three children, owns 59 per cent of the Inditex clothing empire, which he started in 1975, and last year appointed his daughter, Maria Ortega Perez, as chairwoman of Zara. 

Ortega, who has three children, Marta, Sandra and Marcos, would represent a shift from the Glazer family, who have owned Manchester United since 2005.

Neither Apple, nor Ortega, would hold any emotional ties to the club, something that wouldn't apply if Sir Jim Ratcliffe, UK billionaire and lifelong Manchester United fan, took over at Old Trafford.

Apple CEO Cook 'is the latest high-profile suitor to be interested in buying Man United' Apple CEO Cook 'is the latest high-profile suitor to be interested in buying Man United' Ortega has no experience in sports but is reported to have declared interest to executives Ortega has no experience in sports but is reported to have declared interest to executives

Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and Spanish fashion billionaire Amancio Ortega (right) 'are the latest high-profile suitors to be interested in buying Manchester United'

Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer spoke for the first time in public since the club was put up for sale as the American ownership seek new investment or a total buyout Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer spoke for the first time in public since the club was put up for sale as the American ownership seek new investment or a total buyout

Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer spoke for the first time in public since the club was put up for sale as the American ownership seek new investment or a total buyout

As recently as October, Ratcliffe, owner of France football team Nice, admitted: 'If [United] had been for sale in the summer then, yes, we would have probably had a go following on from the Chelsea thing.'

Ratcliffe has dipped in and out of publicly declaring interest in owning a Premier League team, given the rarity of their sales and the chance to be at European football's top table.  

However, in November, a spokesperson for Ratcliffe said: '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.'

Those comments, though, were in relation to the sale of Liverpool. Now United are officially up for grabs, and given his connection to the club, Ratcliffe may well be ready to throw his hat in the ring once more.

Ratcliffe has an estimated net worth of around £10.9billion and does hold that previous sports experience that Apple CEO Tim Cook and fashion billionaire Ortega evidently lack.

His Team Ineos completed their €100million (£85million) takeover of Ligue 1 club OGC Nice in 2019. That came two years after purchasing Swiss team FC Lausanne-Sport.

Ratcliffe would hold an immediate affinity with supporters and previously revealed that his favourite moment as a United fan was being there when they made their late comeback to win the Champions League in 1999 against German giants Bayern Munich. 

 

David Beckham 'has said he is open to holding talks' with any potential buyers of Man United David Beckham 'has said he is open to holding talks' with any potential buyers of Man United

David Beckham 'has said he is open to holding talks' with any potential buyers of Man United

The businessman was born in 1952 and grew up in a council house on Dunkerley Avenue in Failsworth, a small town between Manchester and Oldham.

The lesser-likely ownership bid that holds a clear familial link for fans is that of former Man United winger David Beckham.

Beckham, according to the Times, is open to holding talks with potential bidders for United before joining forces as part of a consortium offer.

The former England star, who currently owns Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, does not have the means to buy United himself but would prove an attractive ally to team up with for prospective buyers.

Beckham's history with United and relationship with the Old Trafford faithful could swing the vote in the favour of those he chooses to partner with.  The Times adds that Beckham has been approached by 'various investors' in the past, but talks never progressed. 

The former England captain is said to be more open than ever to discussing a deal as United confirmed their US owners were open to selling the club on Tuesday. 

Joining Beckham in the unlikely camp is current Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who has described his tweets about plotting to takeover United as an 'ongoing joke' and Mixed Martial Arts star Conor McGregor. 

Musk jokingly wrote on Twitter this summer that he would be purchasing the club, with the 51-year-old's post garnering more than 800,000 likes.

UFC superstar McGregor has previously expressed an interest in taking over the club, but would again be a long-shot to be seen as a legitimate candidate.

Elon Musk tweeted about potentially buying Manchester United this summer Elon Musk tweeted about potentially buying Manchester United this summer Conor McGregor has repeatedly stated his ambition to purchase a football club Conor McGregor has repeatedly stated his ambition to purchase a football club

Elon Musk (left) and Conor McGregor (right) have previously shown interest in buying the club

That would come as music to the ears of United fans who have long protested against Glazers That would come as music to the ears of United fans who have long protested against Glazers

That would come as music to the ears of United fans who have long protested against Glazers

A top priority for United's new owner will be to upgrade their famous ground, Old Trafford A top priority for United's new owner will be to upgrade their famous ground, Old Trafford

A top priority for United's new owner will be to upgrade their famous ground, Old Trafford

The 34-year-old took to Twitter following the announcement of the European Super League in April of last year, writing: 'Hey guys, I'm thinking about buying Manchester United! What do you think?'

One major issue facing whomever buys United is Old Trafford, the club's iconic stadium. The venue has long needed a revamp to compete with the biggest clubs around the world.

It is understood that rebuilding the stadium will cost approximately £1.5bn, making it the most expensive football ground in the world - ahead of Tottenham's new £1bn stadium.

United moved into the ground - dubbed 'The Theatre of Dreams' by fans around the world - in 1910 and have called it home ever since. The stadium was most recently renovated between 2005 and 2006, with 8,000 seats being added.