OCT 15, 2018: Rumors are swirling in the London tabloids that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia – whose family reportedly maintains a net worth of some £850bn – is keen to either take a stake or buy Manchester United from the Glazer family, per a report in The Sun.
Such a move would allow the Saudi prince to compete socially on the European football front with wealthy investors from neighboring countries. Qatar Sports owns Paris Saint-Germain while Manchester City is owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi.
The New York Stock Exchange-listed Premier League football club has been owned by the Glazer family since 2005 and has the third-highest home attendance record (83,260) of English football clubs.
Even if United’s owners, the Glazer family, were willing to consider selling, it would cost the Saudis more than $5.5billion, according to FoxNews Sports.
But they have the money and, it is said, the desire to make a big splash in football which is a highly popular sports in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has already made investments in sports through deals with F1 and WWE as part of its Vision 2030.
Would the Glazer family sell? Absolutely not, according to a Sky Sports News report, which states that Manchester United is not entertaining takeover offers.
But it has been noted that the club’s co-chairman Avram Glazer has been spending significant amounts of time in Saudi Arabia recently.
Avram is due to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh later this month, along with leading bankers and investors from around the world and key figures from the Saudi administration.
United already have a strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority to help develop football there as part of the Crown Prince’s 2030 Vision project to change the country.
This financial year, Manchester United’s revenue is expected to be between £615mln and £630mln ending June 2019.
UEFA, the European football body, switched to a new revenue distribution system in June 2018, under which €2.5bn will be distributed among clubs participating in the Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup competitions, up from €1.72bn in the 2017-18 season.
Manchester United’s current share price values the club at more than $4.6billion, but when it reached a record high in August the figure was $5.7bn.
Manchester United shares jumped 6.8% to $22.69 in Monday’s afternoon trading session.