Daily Mail

Qatari Sheik to bid again after key United talks


THE QATARI Sheik who wants to buy Manchester United will make a second bid after his team held positive talks with club officials in the city. Representa­tives of Sheik Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani toured Old Trafford before watching presentati­ons at the club’s Carrington training complex yesterday.

It is understood that the talks — which lasted about 10 hours — were cordial, extensive and very positive. Sheik Jassim now has about 10 days to make a second bid as he seeks total control of United. It remains unclear whether Raine Group, the US bank overseeing the process, will then choose a party to go exclusive with or seek further rounds of offers. What have been described as ‘a series of big hitters’ were involved in yesterday’s talks. They included Shahzad Shahbaz, president of the Nine Two Foundation who are overseeing the bid and Fady Bakhos — the Sheik’s senior personal advisor. They were joined by Sam Powers — global head of technology, media and telecoms at the Bank of America — and Yasir Shah, a managing director at the same bank, who are helping with the financial element of the bid. The party were met by senior members of Raine Group and shown around United’s iconic home, which is in need of substantia­l investment. At the training ground a number of department­s across United’s business delivered presentati­ons. On the football side, they were shown how United approach recruitmen­t. They also spoke to executives from the club’s finance and commercial branches. Neither United’s owners, the Glazer family, or Sheik Jassim were present for the talks. Tomorrow, rival bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is due for similar presentati­ons, along with members of the bid team from his Ineos company. Two other unnamed groups are said to be in the running to take over the club with multiple other offers of partial investment. Ratcliffe will be joined by exTeam Sky and British Cycling supremo Sir Dave Brailsford, fellow Ineos owners Andy Currie and John Reece and Ineos chair, Rob Nevin, and chief executive, Jean-Claude Blanc. Blanc worked for Qatarowned Paris Saint-Germain as deputy chief executive for the past 12 years. The Frenchman left for Ineos in December and may well be able to provide the inside track on Ratcliffe’s main rivals. Ratcliffe’s group want to take the Glazers’ majority stake but Sheik Jassim wants 100 per cent of the club and said he will clear its debt.

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