Glazers announce intention to sell Manchester United!
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers owners, who are almost universally disliked by United fans and have faced huge opposition during their tenure, seem ready to give up control after 17 years in charge.
In a statement, the club said the board of directors were starting a process "designed to enhance the club's future growth" with the intention of maximizing opportunities on and off the pitch.
"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," said the statement.
"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 Glazers took over at United with a $938-million leveraged buyout in 2005. They were unpopular from the start, and have only become more so in recent years at a club that hasn't won the Premier League since 2013.
US ownership of Man Utd and Liverpool looking at changes
If the family decide not to sell, they could still look for an investment partner to raise capital in order to fund a much-needed redevelopment of United's Old Trafford stadium.
A statement from executive co-chairmen and directors Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said: "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."
While the Glazers appear willing to consider a sale having faced many years of fan protests, United stressed there are no guarantees.
"There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the company," the statement insisted.
"Manchester United does not intend to make further announcements regarding the review unless and until the board has approved a specific transaction or other course of action requiring a formal announcement."
Owners of arch-rivals Liverpool, Fenway Sports Group – also based in the United States – are currently exploring similar options for the whole or partial sale of a club bought in 2010 for £300 million but now worth at least 10 times that.
Cover photo: REUTERS