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Manchester United looks immune to the banking crisis

By Matthew Brooker

23 Mar 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

The bidding war for Manchester United bears little connection to financial reality, claims Bloomberg's Matthew Brooker. Ultimately, it's all about the scarcity value of the iconic British soccer club.

What's a rare painting or an antique vase worth? The simplest answer is: What somebody is willing to pay for it. When beauty is in the eye of the beholder, estimating valuations can be a wildly uncertain art. Collectibles can sometimes sell for multiple times what was expected. The scarcity value of a unique object may be the best lens through which to consider the sale of Manchester United. Good luck making sense of the bidding based on the club's current financials.

The Glazer family that has owned the club since 2005 is aiming for a valuation of as much as £6 billion ($7.4 billion). A Qatari consortium, led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad J.J. Al Thani, and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe were both preparing to raise initial bids ahead of a 9 p.m. deadline in London on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. That cutoff was later extended, according to reports in British media. The Qatari group's opening offer valued the club at about £4.5 billion. It's possible other suitors will enter the fray, while Elliott Investment Management, Ares Management and Oaktree Capital are willing to provide financing, the Bloomberg report said.

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