Manchester United bids have been urged to increase their bids to win the Glazers

A takeover bid for Manchester United by Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani and British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is not high enough for the billionaire Glazer family to sell the club, according to a person close to the situation.

The two bidders, who made an informative offer publicly, will have to raise their bids if they want to convince their owners to sell, the person said.

The Glazers have received several proposals from other potential suitors, including several minority investment proposals that would allow them to raise capital at a more attractive price and retain control of the English Premier League club, the person said. However, none of them came forward publicly.

Three people familiar with the situation said the bidders had a non-disclosure agreement.

Bidders were asked to meet an informal bid deadline last week. They will have access to additional financial information next week at the earliest.

American bank Raine Group, the club’s advisers, are reviewing the bids and preparing to take both types to the next stage of the process.

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The debt-free offer by Sheikh Jassim, the second son of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the former Qatari prime minister, values ​​the club at roughly $4.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The value of Ratcliffe’s offer was not disclosed.

Raising Sheikh Jassim’s current offer could set a global record for the price paid for a sports club. The current record was set by billionaire Walmart heir Rob Walton, who paid $4.6 billion for the Denver Broncos football franchise last year.

Manchester United is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is worth roughly $3.8 billion by market capitalization, and the club has roughly $700 million in debt. The stock fell about 13 percent this week and ended trading Friday at $22.89. It had previously jumped from $13 at the end of last year to north of $27 at the beginning of the month.

Bringing in capital from minority investors would allow the Glazers to retain control while strengthening the club’s balance sheet, which has been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic when revenues have fallen.

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The Glazers control the company through voting shares and own roughly 70 percent of the shares.

United’s change of ownership is a landmark for the sport as investors from billionaires to sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms pour money into the sector.

The Glazers are in no rush to make a decision and are under no pressure to sell, said one of the people familiar with the situation; the club’s strategic review, which began in November, is still in its early stages. A decision is likely to be made in the summer, before the transfer window, when clubs can buy and sell players.

However, this schedule has been complicated by the number of bids received and the variety of applicants that have emerged since last week’s bid deadline.

United fans have been protesting against the club’s American owners since family patriarch Malcolm Glazer led a £790m leveraged buyout in 2005.

Earlier this week, another wealthy American owner of a Premier League club called off the sale. Liverpool FC player John Henry, who also owns baseball’s Boston Red Sox and hockey’s Pittsburgh Penguins, said his company, Fenway Sports Group, would retain ownership.

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Sheikh Jassim and Ineos founder Ratcliffe’s decision to go public with their bids has drawn criticism from the Raine Group, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The last major Premier League club was Chelsea, who also changed hands in a sale process overseen by Raine.

Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich put the London club up for sale last year after Vladimir Putin’s all-out invasion of Ukraine in an auction that fetched £2.5bn – a football industry record. The sale was made quickly because the sanctions were affecting Chelsea and hurting their revenue.

However, the Glazers are in a very different situation, they do not have a specific need to sell, so they have more time to assess their options.

On Sunday, Manchester United take on Newcastle in the League Cup final – a win would mean the team’s first silverware since 2017.

All parties declined to comment.