Talks between the Glazers and an American company looking to buy a piece of Manchester United are focused on how much money the family will get for their shares, with no immediate plans to pump new money into the club.
The news will come as a blow to long-suffering fans who have been hoping new investors could provide much-needed funds for the redevelopment of Old Trafford and Carrington training ground, or provide a larger transfer fund.
Sportsmail exclusively announced on Thursday that New York-based private equity group Apollo was in talks with the Glazer family to take a minority stake in United.
The Glazers, pictured Joel and Avram, are open to selling a minority stake in Man United
Elon Musk caused shockwaves on social media after tweeting to “buy Man United”.
Wild speculation followed that Tesla founder Elon Musk and British billionaire industrialist Sir Jim Ratcliffe were interested in buying the Red Devils.
Musk later tweeted that he was joking but Ratcliffe’s spokesman said he would be interested if the club was up for sale.
But negotiations with Apollo revolve around how much the four members of the Glazer family – Kevin, Bryan, Darcie and Edward Glazer – are willing to accept for their shares.
They want to leave, unlike their brothers Joel and Avram Glazer, who have no intention of relinquishing overall ownership or day-to-day control of United.
All six siblings own an equal number of shares in United and, most importantly, control 97 percent of the voting power between them. Some shares are also traded on the New York Stock Exchange, but have a significant dilution of voting rights.
United’s stock price soared when it was revealed the company was in the running for a minority stake. Shares closed at $14 in New York last night, valuing the club at more than $2 billion.
It was hoped a cash injection would arrive to fund improvements at Old Trafford and Carrington
Talks with Apollo, which sources have variously described as “exclusive” and “exploratory,” are expected to continue at least until the September 1 transfer window.
Apollo may invite other investors to join them in a syndicate to buy some of the Glazers stock. However, a deal is unlikely to involve additional capital from new shareholders that could be used to invest in the club.
“The Glazer family is fed up, they just want to take money off the table,” the source said. If a deal can be agreed, it would be the first time the Glazers have ceded control of United since they took control in a controversial, debt-laden £790million deal in 2005.
The club are going through one of their most difficult times on and off the pitch and one of their stars, Cristiano Ronaldo, wants to leave the club.
With shares split evenly among six family members – and four of them looking to sell – Joel and Avi Glazer could remain in control of United in a number of scenarios.
The four could sell some of their shares – Apollo in this case – but keep enough for the six glaziers to retain overall control. Or the four Glazers could sell all their shares but transfer enough to Joel and Avi to keep the lead.
In the second scenario, Joel and Avi may need to borrow money – perhaps from Apollo – to buy stocks from their siblings.
Of course, the Glazers could just test the market to see what their shares are worth. In other words, “No Deal” is also an option.
Minority investors, in this case Apollo, have limited powers but can exercise some influence over owners.
Crystal Palace co-owner Josh Harris (centre) has a stake in Apollo, which is in exclusive talks to buy a minority stake in Manchester United.
“They can assert certain powers, such as the ability to underwrite large issues and board seats,” Adam Sommerfeld of sports consultancy Certus Capital Partners told Bloomberg News.
“Football is a very fluid game, so these investors can often develop strong dissenting voices when a team isn’t doing too well on the pitch.”
And that certainly applies to United, who are bottom of the Premier League after losing their first two games of the season to Brighton and Brentford under new manager Erik ten Hag.
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United are also looking to sign new players in this window as the team no longer plays in the Champions League.
Apollo and United declined to comment.