Livescore Thursday, April 25

Qatari royal Sheikh Jassim has submitted a fifth bid for Manchester United.

Sheikh Jassim and rival bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe lodged revised offers for the club at the end of April with Raine Group, the US bank instructed to oversee any sale, looking to secure a valuation closer to the Glazer family’s £6billion ($7.54bn).

Both parties had been waiting to hear back about their bids but Sheikh Jasssim — the son of the former prime minister and chairman of Qatari bank QIB — has made a fresh attempt to beat off Ratcliffe and bring an end to the protracted process.

The revised Sheikh Jassim bid comes from a not-for-profit entity he is setting up called the Nine Two Foundation, 1992 being the year he apparently started following the club, and a nod to the ‘Class of ’92’ crop of players that emerged from United’s academy that year.

Those close to the bid say the latest offer is a significant premium on the current share price of the club, and that Sheikh Jassim is seeking negotiations before Friday.

According to Qatari representatives, all Sheikh Jassim’s bids promise to clear United’s debt, which is a minimum £535.7million — the amount placed on the club by the Glazers in their 2005 leveraged takeover.

The Athletic reported earlier this month that bankers associated with past acquisitions by Ratcliffe’s petrochemicals giant INEOS were recently instructed to pull together specific financing for the United bid, indicating an advanced stage of talks. Several sources close to the deal — anonymous to protect business relationships — had also reported confidence from Ratcliffe’s team that his INEOS bid would be successful.

INEOS remain hopeful they will yet be named the preferred bidder.

The Glazer family announced in November plans to identify “strategic alternatives” that could lead to a potential sale of the club, but throughout the process, there has been no guarantee of a full takeover.

Avram Glazer attended last weekend’s FA Cup final, which Manchester United lost 2-1 to Manchester City, but avoided questions about the takeover when asked by reporters at Wembley.

Initial bids from Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe, the founder of petrochemicals company INEOS, are not thought to have surpassed £5billion ($6.14bn) during the first round back in February. Both were given extra time to submit further offers.

Multiple other proposals for investment have also previously been tabled.

US hedge fund Elliott Investment Management publicly declared their interest in providing financing for a takeover. They have put forward a proposal for possible financing to the Glazer family, in the event that they do not sell the club.

A delegation representing Sheikh Jassim visited Old Trafford in March as United opened its doors for potential buyers to probe senior officials from the club’s hierarchy.

He was not present at talks, but the party included Shahzad Shahbaz, president of Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, and Fady Bakhos, his most senior personal adviser. Ratcliffe also visited the club with a delegation that included Sir David Brailsford, the former British Cycling executive, who is now INEOS’ director of sport.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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