Who are the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, and what is their net worth?

Avram (l) and Joel Glazer. Their late father, Malcolm, bought Manchester United in 2005  (Michael Regan / Getty Images)
Avram (l) and Joel Glazer. Their late father, Malcolm, bought Manchester United in 2005 (Michael Regan / Getty Images)

Despite competition from Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is apparently confident of winning the contest to purchase Manchester United.

The 20-time English champions have received bids from Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim worth about £4.5 billion, which is less than the Glazer family's asking price by £1.5 billion.

According to reports, the prospective buyers will both fly to Manchester this week with their teams for presentations that will be attended by senior club personnel.

After nearly two decades in charge of Manchester United, the Glazer family has drawn heavy criticism for their lack of investment and involvement in the club.

Despite recent on-pitch troubles at Old Trafford (the club has not won a trophy for six years), the Red Devils still rank among the most popular and marketable football teams in the world. They have won the English top-flight title a record 20 times and the European Cup three times, among a host of other trophies.

So who are the Glazer family and why are they open to selling Manchester United?

Who are the Glazer family?

Malcolm Glazer was a businessman and owner of a sports franchise in America, who died in 2014. Born in New York, he started out at his father's watch-parts company aged eight. When he was 15, his father died and he sold watches door to door to support his family.

In his later years, Glazer was the owner of United and the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was also the president and chief executive of First Allied Corporation, a holding company for his multiple business endeavours.

United are currently owned by his six children. The Glazers bought the club for £790 million in 2005, in a highly leveraged deal that has been criticised for loading debt on to the club.

They sold 10 per cent of their holding via the 2012 US listing and have sold more shares since but retain majority ownership. United’s valuation as a public company peaked at $4.3 billion (£3.4 billion) in 2018. They were worth $2.5 billion (£2.1 billion) at the close of US trading recently.

What is their net worth?

Forbes estimated the family’s worth at £3.9 billion.

What do the Glazer family own?

Glazer’s six children, Avram, Bryan, Darcie, Edward, Joel, and Kevin, own United after he acquired the bulk of the club's shares through the investment firm Red Football Ltd in 2005.

The six Glazer children each received an equal share of their father’s 90 per cent controlling stake after he died due to a protracted illness.

Since their father's stroke in April 2006, Joel and Avram have been in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club. They are co-chairmen and Bryan, Darcie, Edward, and Kevin serve as directors.

Avram Glazer offered shares worth £70 million for sale in March 2021.

Why are the family considering selling Manchester United?

The Glazers are considering selling United because of debt.

The club was debt-free when the Glazers took ownership in 2005. However, the purchase agreement recommended by former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is said to have added more than £500 million in debt to the company.

To the dismay of fans, Malcolm Glazer used a leveraged buyout scheme to finance a large portion of the takeover rather than using his own funds.

This entails borrowing funds against a future asset to purchase that item; in this example, interest payments total more than £60 million annually.

It has been widely claimed that the buyout has cost the club more than £1 billion in interest and other expenses over the years.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the club's debt had increased by 133 per cent to £474 million by the end of 2020.

Since 2015, the club has paid an annual dividend, most of which goes to the Glazers, and the company's tax registration was transferred from Old Trafford to the Cayman Islands in 2012.

The club's 2018–19 financial statements included dividends totalling £23 million. The six Glazer siblings apparently shared about £18 million of this.

Club income has more than doubled since 2005 and United were ranked the third-most-valuable football club in the world by Forbes last May. This was largely due to the significant and diversified commercial partnerships inked under the Glazers.

The club was fourth in the 2023 Deloitte Football Money League, an annual profile of the highest revenue-generating clubs in world football, behind Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Manchester City.