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Manchester United football club announces deal to sell up to 25% of club to Jim Ratcliffe

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has agreed to buy a 25% stake worth about £1.25 billion ($1.3 billion) in Manchester United soccer club, the BBC reported Sunday.

As part of the deal, Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group will take control of the club’s football operations.

Ratcliffe, 71, will also provide $300m (£236m) for future investment into Old Trafford.

The announcement comes 13 months after the club’s owners, the Glazer family, stated they were considering selling to “explore strategic alternatives”.

The American family bought the club for £790m ($1.34bn) in 2005.

United MANU, +1.02% 0Z1Q, have struggled on the pitch this season and have not won the Premier League since 2013, while there have been regular protests against the Glazer ownership.

Manchester-born Ratcliffe is chairman of petrochemicals company Ineos and says he is a “lifelong supporter of the club”.

In a statement he said: “Whilst the commercial success of the club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times.

“We will bring the global knowledge, expertise and talent from the wider Ineos Sport group to help drive further improvement at the club, while also providing funds intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford.

“Our shared ambition is clear: we all want to see Manchester United back where we belong, at the very top of English, European and world football.”

The club said the deal is “subject to customary regulatory approvals” but are “hopeful it will be completed as soon as possible”.

Ratcliffe, will acquire 25 per cent of Manchester United’s Class B shares and up to 25 per cent of Manchester United’s Class A shares and provide an additional $300 million intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford, the club said in a statement.

Through his chemical conglomerate Ineos Group, Ratcliffe will pay $33 a share for a 25% stake in the club, valuing the club at $5.4 billion, falling below initial hopes of of $6 billion, Bloomberg reported.

See also: Manchester United’s Ratcliffe saga continues as billionaire still ‘in limbo’ over stake, report says

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