Manchester United could become the latest English Premier League team to have new owners after it announced that it would “explore strategic alternatives for the club."
The Glazer family has been the majority owners of Manchester United since 2005 when Malcolm Glazer took over the team after he was a minority owner. The Glazers are also the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company," a statement from the team said. "This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders."
The family’s ownership of Manchester United has been a controversial topic among Red Devils supporters. The takeover bid was heavily financed through loans secured against the assets of the team. The high interest rates on the loans have meant significant annual debt payments after the club had famously been debt-free for decades. The Glazers even offered shares of the team on the New York Stock Exchange in a refinancing effort.
Malcolm Glazer died in 2014 and his sons Avram and Joel Glazer are currently the co-chairmen of the team.
“The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers," the Glazer brothers said in a statement. "As we seek to continue building on the Club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives. We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future. Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
Manchester United bills itself as the most famous club in the world and has significant commercial presences all across the globe. If the team is sold, its purchase price will likely far exceed the $3.2 billion that Todd Boehly paid for Chelsea from Roman Abramovich earlier this year after the Russian oligarch was forced to sell the team via sanctions imposed from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The news that the team could be sold came hours after United announced that it had agreed to terminate its contract with star striker Cristiano Ronaldo. The 37-year-old Portugal captain has been at odds with the club since he returned to United ahead of the 2021-22 season and had received limited playing time this season.
United's announcement also comes just weeks after Fenway Sports Group confirmed that it was looking into a potential sale of Liverpool. FSG bought Liverpool in 2010 and would stand to make an incredible return on its $350 million investment if it sold the team.