INEOS led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe have acquired 25% of football club Manchester United to go with their existing ownership of the Mercedes F1 team.
Premier League team United have been on the market since November last year when owners the Glazer family suggested they would look to sell their prized asset if their valuation was met.
After a year of negotiation which saw a Qatari bid drop out of the running, Ratcliffe and his INEOS group has today confirmed they have acquired a minority ownership.
INEOS secure part ownership of Manchester United
Sporting ventures are nothing new to the INEOS group. In December 2020 they bought a third of the Mercedes F1 team, making them co-owners alongside Toto Wolff and Daimler. They also own multiple football teams as well as sailing and cycling competitors.
But the 25% acquisition of United, a club Ratcliffe supports and was raised 10 miles away from their stadium, is the most significant asset in INEOS’ catalogue.
Ratcliffe has paid £1.25 billion for a quarter of the ownership while Forbes valued Mercedes at $3.8 billion.
Acquiring his boyhood team has not been an easy task for the second wealthiest person in the UK. He had to beat off interest from Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani with both tabling bids of £5 billion.
He also had to convince the Glazer family who appeared unwilling to lose control. Ratcliffe reduced his bid to 69% but it was only once he dropped it further to 25% that it was accepted. INEOS will take over football operations at the club.
What does this mean for Mercedes?
Given INEOS made a revenue of $20.9 billion in 2022, there is plenty of money to go around for their sporting ventures.
The reality is that despite taking £1.25 billion out of INEOS’ bank account, the Manchester United deal is expected to have no effect on the group’s ownership of Mercedes.
The team reported a turnover of £474.6m in 2022 and a profit of £89.7 million after tax and considering the cost cap is around $140m, Mercedes will not be short of cash to compete.