Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has withdrawn from the process to buy Manchester United, a source told ESPN.
Sheikh Jassim held further talks with United’s owners, the Glazer family, in the past few days but has decided the valuation of the club is unrealistic, according to a source.
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Sheikh Jassim’s bid is worth close to £5 billion ($6.061 billion), but sources told ESPN that the Glazers value United at more than £6 billion. The current market value of the club is around £2.6 billion.
The Qatari offer was for 100% of the club and included a commitment to wipe away existing debt. Figures released in March showed United owed £969.6 million. Sheikh Jassim also pledged £1.4 billion for the redevelopment of facilities, including Old Trafford, and to improve the playing squad.
A source told ESPN that British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS consortium remain part of the process and are now confident of completing a deal for 25% of the club, worth close to £1.5 billion.
While Ratcliffe and INEOS have amended their original offer for majority control to one that would see the Glazers remain in charge, their ultimate goal remains to take full control of the club.
Sources told ESPN that the Glazers have also received offers of minority investment from a number of U.S.-based financial groups.
The American family, who bought the club in 2005 for £790 million, announced last November they were considering “strategic alternatives” including a full sale of accepting minority investment.