Manchester United’s owners were waiting for new bids from a Qatari banker and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe on Thursday, after the deadline for revised bids to buy the Premier League giants had passed.
According to reports, bidders were originally told they had until 2100 GMT on Wednesday to submit new bids, but that deadline has now been extended.
It is unknown when the new cut-off will be implemented. The only bidders who have made their intentions public are Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank, and Ratcliffe, the founder of chemicals giant INEOS.
A first round of bidding took place last month, and it has been reported that there are as many as eight different potential investors for the club owned by the American Glazer family, who are massively unpopular with Manchester United fans.
The BBC said several other proposed investors made their submissions by the Wednesday deadline.
No figures have been revealed but one or more of the initial bids was understood to be in the region of £4.5 billion ($5.5 billion).
That would make Manchester United — who have not won the Premier League for a decade — the most expensive sports club in history, although it would be short of the £6 billion valuation reportedly placed on United by the Glazers.
United’s owners announced in November they were conducting a strategic review, with the sale of the club one option being considered. Sheikh Jassim is bidding for 100 percent control, aiming to return the club to its “former glories”.
A source close to Sheikh Jassim’s bid told AFP he remains confident his bid is “the best for the club, fans and local community”.
‘Stupid prices’ INEOS chemical company founder Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan, wants to buy the combined Glazer shareholding of 69 percent of the 20-time English champions. The 70-year-old told the Wall Street Journal this week he was not interested in paying “stupid prices” in a bidding war for one of football’s most iconic clubs.
Ratcliffe, who already owns French club Nice, said his interest in United would be “purely in winning things”, calling the club a “community asset”, rather than a financial one.
The Glazers have angered many United fans by saddling the club with huge debts since they took over in 2005.
They appeared ready to cash out at an enormous profit when they invited external investment in November.
However, they could yet shun the option of selling a controlling stake in the club, with other parties understood to be interested in a minority shareholding.
Ratcliffe visited Old Trafford last week along with INEOS representatives, a day after a delegation from Sheikh Jassim’s group toured the club’s stadium and training ground.