British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos has officially entered the race to buy Manchester United.
A spokesman for Ineos said: “We have formally committed ourselves to this process.”
Ratcliffe made an unsuccessful £4.25bn takeover bid last year after owner Roman Abramovich put the London club up for sale.
Born in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, the son of a carpenter, Ratcliffe grew up a Manchester United fan and is one of the wealthiest men in Britain.
He said he would try to buy Old Trafford after failing to buy Chelsea, but after meeting brothers Joel and Avram Glazer, Expressed that they did not want to sell.
However, the Glazer family has since changed its position and he has now joined the bidding process.
INEOS owns Nice, France and Lausanne, Switzerland.
Manchester United has been owned by the Glazer family since 2005.
Their form has improved under summer succession as manager Eric ten Haag, finishing fourth in the Premier League.
They beat cross-city rivals Manchester City 2-1 on Saturday and are nine points behind leaders Arsenal.
American investment company Raine Group, who handled Chelsea’s £4.25bn sale in May, Advice exclusively for United Airlines. A consortium led by Todd Bolly has bought a stake in Stamford Bridge for £2.5bn and said it would provide £1.75bn to invest in the Premier League club.
There have been numerous protests against the Glazer family’s ownership in recent years, including one in May 2021 that led to the postponement of Manchester United’s home game against Liverpool.
In August, thousands of supporters marched to Old Trafford in protest ahead of the same game this season.
United were part of a failed European Super League project that quickly collapsed in April 2021. United co-chairman Joel Glazer later apologized for the disturbance he caused.
Later, following an uproar among supporters, he took part in a fans forum and promised to give his followers a stake in the club.
United have since said in a statement in November that the board would “consider all strategic options, including new investments in the club, sale or other transactions involving the company”.
Simon Stone, BBC Sport football reporter
Lifelong fan Ratcliffe has confirmed his interest in buying Manchester United and he promises he will be getting a fair amount of attention over the next month.
The Raine Group, which is handling the sale process, has pledged to narrow down the pool of bidders in February, aiming to close any deal by March, although that is not a hard deadline.
BBC Sport understands all options remain open, including keeping the Glazers as owners but accepting some form of outside investment.
The joint source played down the trip this week by chief executive Richard Arnold and co-chairman Avi Glazer to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
However, their presence is bound to create an opportunity to discuss the club, or at least the financing of the stadium’s rebuild.
It will cost around £2bn to bring Old Trafford to the level it needs to be, probably not much less than building a whole new ground from scratch.
Clearly, this eye-watering cost, combined with the Glazer family’s expectations of the club, means that any buyer will need to invest beyond the £4.25bn Bolly syndicate paid for Chelsea last year.
This means it requires individuals or groups with deep pockets.
The hope is that the “exclusivity” of owning one of the world’s greatest global sports brands will generate a healthy market that sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Ratcliffe’s tactic of checking Chelsea’s books early on and then making an actual bid after the bid deadline has attracted some attention last year.
This time, he came early. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out.