Manchester United, one of world’s most valuable soccer teams, will soon go on the auction block as its American owners gear up to entertain offers for a potential sale, Sky News reported Tuesday.
Members of the Glazer family, which have owned the team for almost two decades, have hired an investment bank to explore a full or partial sale of the club, according to Sky. The Glazers, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, paid $939 million for Manchester United in 2005.
Manchester United didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
It’s unclear what price the Glazers will ask for United. Forbes values the club at $4.6 billion. Manchester United, whose shares trade publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, sported a market worth on Tuesday of $2.4 billion. The team’s stock price shot up 15% on Tuesday to $14.94.
In the 2020-21 season, Manchester United generated revenue of roughly $572 million, ranking it No. 5 in the world among professional clubs, according to Deloitte. Premier League arch-rival Manchester City topped topped the consulting firm’s list, with revenue of $661 million.
In May, a consortium of investors led by American businessman Todd Boehly struck a deal to buy Chelsea FC, which like Manchester United competes in the Premier League, for up to $4.9 billion.
News of a potential United sale comes just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo severed his contract with the club. His contract was due to expire at the end of this season, but he will now start searching for his fourth club in a little over four years.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement. “The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future.”
The record goal-scorer in men’s international soccer rejected a new offer from a Saudi Arabian club this year, but CBS Sports reported over the summer that a rival suitor in the country might be interested in his services if he left Manchester United.
A sale would be a welcome change for many Man United fans, who have grown sour on the Glazers’ ownership. The famed club hasn’t won a Premier League title since 2013.
Sky News also reported that several billionaires will likely line up as potential candidates to buy the club. One wealthy individual has already backed out of the running. Jim Ratcliffe, owner of British chemical company INEOS, said earlier this month that he would not bid for the team, the Associated Press reported.
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