Manchester Utd’s American owners are willing to listen to offers for the club after a 17-year reign marked by fan protests and declining on-field performance.
If the club, which is worth around £5 billion, is sold, it is expected to be purchased by US investors.
A statement from Manchester United confirmed plans to identify “strategic alternatives,” and stated that the process will consider a variety of options “including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”.
According to football finance expert Kieran Maguire, Manchester United’s share price rose by 17% as a result, adding nearly $400 million (£336.4 million) to the club’s market capitalization.
Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, executive co-chairmen and directors, stated, “The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers. As we seek to continue building on the club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
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“We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the club today and in the future. Throughout this process, we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
The Raine Group, which assisted in the sale of Chelsea earlier this summer, is serving as United’s sole financial adviser, with Rothschild and Co serving in the same capacity for Glazer family shareholders.
The announcement of a review of financial options, which could include a sale process, would put an end to years of speculation about whether the Glazers could be persuaded to sell a club that has been in almost continuous decline for the past decade.
United has not won the Premier League title since 2013 and has fired a number of managers since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Recently, the club has been embroiled in a legal battle with Cristiano Ronaldo over an interview in which he questioned United’s ambition and criticized the Glazers’ approach to ownership.