Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has made a second bid to buy Manchester United, it is understood. The Qatar Islamic Bank chair – who is also the son of a former Qatari prime minister – placed his second-round offer late on Friday night.
A source close to the bid says the Qataris remain confident of completing a takeover at Old Trafford despite rival interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus.
A deadline for offers had been set for 9pm on Wednesday before being extended. The first round of bidding took place last month and it has been reported there are as many as eight potential investors. No figures have been revealed but one or more of the initial bids were reportedly in the region of £4.5bn.
The Glazer family, who acquired the club for £750m in a highly leveraged deal in 2005, announced last year they were seeking “strategic alternatives” that could include a sale.
Sheikh Jassim has said his interest is a private initiative through his Nine Two Foundation and is not connected to the Qatari state. His representatives also visited Old Trafford last week for talks.
Ratcliffe, who made an unsuccessful bid to buy Chelsea in 2022 and owns the French club Nice, visited Old Trafford last week. The 70-year-old was born in the Manchester area and is a boyhood United fan. He is one of the richest people in Britain with an estimated personal fortune of £6bn.
The Finnish businessman Zilliacus confirmed earlier this week that he has also submitted a bid. He is founder and chairman of investment company Mobile FutureWorks and wants to buy United in a 50-50 partnership with their fans, who would supposedly have a say in the decision-making process at the club.
Until now little or nothing is known of other potential bidders, though it has been reported that the US hedge fund Elliott Management has made a proposal that would involve offering finance to either new bidders or the Glazers.