Mar 23, 2023
Finnish Businessman Joins the Bidding War for Manchester United
(Bloomberg) -- Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus emerged as a surprise bidder for Manchester United Plc Thursday, saying he would give the team’s fans an equal say on all issues that relate to the football decisions at the club.
The news came to light after a Wednesday deadline was extended to give bidders extra time to table new offers.
Zilliacus, a former chairman of Finnish football team HJK, said he had the finance to support a takeover of the football club at “whatever the number is that we agree to.”
In a telephone interview, he declined to say how much his bid was worth. But he said of owners the Glazer family: “I am not surprised if they say they won’t sell for less than £6 billion.”
He joins two other parties that have publicly declared an interest in buying Manchester United. A Qatari consortium, led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad J.J. Al Thani, has already tabled an improved offer above its initial £4.5 billion debt-free bid, according to a person familiar with the matter. British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is expected to increase his first offer of less than £4.5 billion.
Zilliacus said that his bid would give the Glazers an opportunity receive enough money but also know that they are the people who gave the club back to the fans.
“My group will finance half of the sum needed to take over the club, and will ask the fans, through a new company that is being set up for this specific purpose, to participate in the other half, he said in a statement. “If every fan joins it means less than $3 per fan.”
The Finnish entrepreneur’s bid was in before yesterday’s deadline, he said. But he had no concerns that the bid deadline had since been extended to let others make last minute changes. “Our bid might need some fine-tuning,” he said.
In a further development Elliott Investment Management LP, the private equity group, submitted a bid for a small stake in the club, according to a person familiar with the situation.
A spokesperson for Raine Group, which is managing the sale, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
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