INEOS boss Jim Ratcliffe is officially co-owner of Manchester United | Foreign Football

Manchester United officially announced on Tuesday evening that Sir Jim Ratcliffe has become co-owner of the club. At the end of December it was announced that the main owner of the British chemical company INEOS (INspec Ethylene Oxide and Specialties) would buy back a quarter of the shares. After the Premier League and the FA gave the green light, the sale of the shares has now been completely completed.

The 71-year-old billionaire paid approximately 1.2 billion euros to acquire 25 percent of the shares and invested another 200 million dollars (185 million euros), bringing his shareholding to 27.7 percent. On December 31, an additional investment of 100 million dollars (92.5 million euros) will be added and Ratcliffe will own 28.9 percent of the club. Ratcliffe wants to pump the extra 300 million into the renovation of Old Trafford. The American Glazer family remains the main shareholder, but Ratcliffe will take over the sporting management.

“Becoming co-owner of Manchester United is a great honor, but it also comes with a great responsibility,” Ratcliffe said on the club website. “This is the end of the transaction, but just the beginning of an adventure that will take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans. The work to achieve those goals begins today.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe. © Photo News

“Bright future”

“I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner and look forward to working closely with him and INEOS Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United,” said co-chairman Joel Glazer.

INEOS also already owned the Swiss FC Lausanne and the French OGC Nice. It is the main sponsor of the cycling team of the same name and of Formula 1 racing team Mercedes. It is reported that Ratcliffe will step aside at Nice, third in Ligue 1, to avoid problems with both clubs participating in the Champions League. Lausanne was only promoted back to the highest Swiss division last year, is penultimate and has not played European football since the 2010-2011 season.

Year for sale

Manchester United had been for sale for a year. The Glazer family succumbed to the pressure from the supporters at the time, who accused them of sporting mismanagement. Besides Ratcliffe, Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani was the main candidate. That Qatari sheikh wanted 100 percent of the shares and is said to have made an offer of 5.7 billion euros for it. In 2005, the Glazers paid 790 million pounds (922 million euros) to acquire Manchester United. Since then, Manchester United has become champion five more times, but the last title, the twentieth in club history, dates back to 2013, the year that club icon Sir Alex Ferguson ended his coaching career.

Manchester United is currently sixth in the Premier League with 44 points from 25 games, thirteen points behind leader Liverpool and twelve behind city rival Manchester City.