MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Jim Ratcliffe is entering the bidding to buy Manchester United.
The billionaire owner of petrochemicals firm INEOS is ready to make an offer to United owners the Glazer family, who outlined their willingness to sell the Premier League club in November.
“We have formally put ourselves into the process,” INEOS said in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Ratcliffe, one of the richest people in Britain, is a United fan and has previously indicated a desire to buy the club.
However, INEOS said in the summer that it was no longer interested in bidding for any Premier League club and would, instead, focus its attention on French team Nice, which it already owns.
That position has changed now that United’s American owners, the Glazer family, are prepared to sell.
The family, which also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, outlined plans to seek outside funding in November.
“As part of this process, the board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company,” it said in a statement at the time.
Ratcliffe made a late bid to buy Chelsea last year when former owner Roman Abramovich put the London club up for sale.
A consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital eventually secured a deal worth £2.5 billion (US$3 billion) for Chelsea, which also included a commitment of £1.75 billion (US$2 billion) of further investment.
There have been reports of interest from the U.S., the Middle East and Asia in buying United, but INEOS is the first to publicly confirm it has entered the bidding process.
The late tycoon Malcolm Glazer bought United in 2005 for £790 million (then about US$1.4 billion).