Who is Jim Ratcliffe - the billionaire considering buying Manchester United?

A spokesman says British businessman would be prepared to buy a stake as a prelude to assuming full control at Old Trafford from the Glazers

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Jim Ratcliffe has thrown his hat into the ring as a "potential buyer" of Manchester United, a spokesman for the British businessman has said.

The billionaire would be prepared to buy a stake as a prelude to assuming full control at Old Trafford from the Glazers, the spokesman told The Times newspaper.

Who is Jim Ratcliffe?

Ratcliffe is a British chemical engineer and businessman. The 69-year-old made his money through shale gas as a co-founder of Inspec, before launching Ineos in 1998, where his fortunes really flew.

His company sells a diverse range of products, from synthetic oils and plastics to solvents used to make insulin and antibiotics.

Ratcliffe still owns two-thirds of the company, and which has been estimated to have a turnover of $15 billion in 2019.

In 2006, Ineos bought BP's refining and petrochemical arm Innovene and in 2010, Ratcliffe relocated Ineos' head office to Switzerland.

What is his net worth?

In 2018, Ratcliffe was named Britain's richest, with a personal fortune of £21.05 billion. A recent Forbes report estimated Ratcliffe's current net worth at $16.3bn (£13.5bn).

According to the Daily Mirror, Ratcliffe's annual salary is an estimated annual salary of $10m (£7.4m).

Does he own any other sports teams?

Ineos already owns French Ligue 1 football club Nice, Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport, the former Team Sky cycling franchise, and also sponsors Formula One constructors' world champions Mercedes.

In May, Ratcliffe made an unsuccessful £4.25bn offer to buy Chelsea after owner Roman Abramovich put the London club up for sale.

He lost out to US businessman Todd Boehly's consortium.

Would he be welcome by the United fans?

Given the hostility towards the current owners, yes.

Ratcliffe is a lifelong Manchester United fan, born in Oldham, Greater Manchester in 1952 and has the funds to help the 20-time English champions compete with the likes of neighbours City and Liverpool.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported the US-based Glazer family would consider selling a minority stake in the Premier League club, as pressure mounts on their ownership.

Discussions are ongoing and there’s no certainty the Glazers will decide to sell a stake in the club. A representative for United and the Glazer family declined to comment as shares rose as much as 7.6 per cent in New York on Wednesday.

An Ineos spokesman told The Times newspaper Ratcliffe would be prepared to buy a stake as a prelude to assuming full control at Old Trafford.

"If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership," the spokesman said.

The Glazers, who bought United in 2005 in a leveraged buyout that saddled the club with a mountains of debt, have long been accused of taking more out financially than they have invested in terms of transfer funds or in redeveloping the club's crumbling Old Trafford ground.

Updated: August 18, 2022, 6:10 AM