Qatar’s hint at takeover bid success boosts Man Utd shares

A statue of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton standing outside Old Trafford, home of Manchester United in Manchester, England.

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Shares of Manchester United rose as much as 16% in premarket trading on Tuesday after Qatari media suggested Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani was likely to succeed with his takeover bid.

Qatar’s Al-Watan newspaper reported Tuesday evening that Sheikh Jassim, a son of the country’s former prime minister, is poised to be announced as the preferred bidder of the Premier League soccer club. Al-Watan is co-owned by┬áHamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani.

A spokesperson for Manchester United was not immediately available to comment.

Shares of Manchester United, which exclusively trade on the New York Stock Exchange, were around 4% higher at 3:15 a.m. ET, paring earlier gains.

The reports come after seven months of negotiations, with British petrochemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe also in talks to buy the club.

Sharing the news via Twitter, the social media account of the Al-Watan newspaper said, “The success of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim’s acquisition” would be announced soon.

Fahad al-Emadi, editor of Al Watan newspaper, shared a similar message.

“All the news received indicates the success of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim’s acquisition of Manchester United, and the announcement of the deal will be very soon,” he said.

The Glazer family, Manchester United’s American owners, announced the formal sale process late last year, saying in a Nov. 22 statement that the company’s board of directors would start exploring “strategic alternatives” for the club.

Sheikh Jassim on June 7 was reported to have submitted an improved fifth and final offer of around $6.3 billion for total control of Manchester United. Ratcliffe, meanwhile, was said to have wanted to purchase around 60% of the club.

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