British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe insists he won’t pay “stupid prices” for Manchester United as the deadline for applications approaches.
The current owners, the Glazer family, tentatively put United up for sale in November, and Ratcliffe became the first bidder to formally register a stake through his London-based chemicals company INEOS.
He was subsequently among the parties to submit initial bids before the “soft deadline” in February, with Ratcliffe and Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani considered the two leaders.
While the exact value of the bids is unclear, the Glazers are reportedly seeking at least $7.2 billion (£5.9 billion) if sold, which would be a new world record for a sports team. Forbes last year valued the club at $4.8bn (£4bn).
Recent reports have suggested that bidders are increasingly confident that the Glazers will approve the sale, with Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim expected to submit formal bids this week.
But Ratcliffe made it clear that he would not pay beyond the odds.
Speaking of the process to the Wall Street Journal, Ratcliffe said, “How do you price a painting? How do you determine the price of a house?
“It has nothing to do with how much it costs to build or how much it costs to paint.
“What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because you later regret it.”
The second deadline for bids appears to be set for Wednesday, with Sky Sports claiming there could be up to eight official bids.
Ratcliffe, a longtime United fan, was spotted at Old Trafford last Friday after meeting with club officials.
It is said that Sheikh Jassim’s associates were in Manchester the day before, although he himself was not there.