Businessman bids to buy Man United
FINNISH businessman Thomas Zilliacus has confirmed he has submitted a bid to buy Manchester United.
Zilliacus, founder and chairman of investment company Mobile FutureWorks, heads the third group to have publicly declared interest in a club takeover after Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The Finn wants to buy United in a 50-50 partnership with their fans, who will have a say in the decision-making process at the Premier League club.
Zilliacus said on Twitter: “I have put in a bid to buy Manchester United together with the fans, who will have equal say on all sporting matters.
“No more sheiks and oligarchs controlling football!”
A deadline for offers had been set for 9pm on Wednesday and that has been extended after INEOS founder Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister, confirmed they would submit second, improved bids.
Zilliacus said his offer is based on United having a current market value of “just under 3.9 billion US dollars” (£3.17bn).
In a statement, he said: “Any sport club ultimately should belong to its fans.
“The current development, where billionaire sheiks and oligarchs take over clubs and control them as their personal playgrounds is not a healthy trend.
“The current market value of the club is just under 3.9 billion US dollars. That means that if every one of the fans of the club would join in buying the club, the total sum per fan would amount to less than six US dollars
“My bid is built on equality with the fans.
“My group will finance half of the sum needed to take over the club, and will ask the fans, through a new company that is being set up for this specific purpose, to participate for the other half.”
Zilliacus, former chairman of Finnish football team HJK Helsinki and ex-owner of ice hockey club Jokerit, said every fan who joins his bid will have access to an app which they can use to vote “when deciding on footballing matters relating to the club”.
He added: “No decisions will be taken that are not supported by a majority of the fan base.”