Saudi Arabia has submitted a bid for British soccer club Manchester United PLC (MANU.N) ahead of Friday’s deadline, the Telegraph reported on Thursday.
Multiple private groups in Riyadh have made formal inquiries, the report added.
British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, a life-long supporter of the club and founder of chemicals firm INEOS, is a likely bidder, along with U.S. private equity firms, sources told Reuters.
Qatari Royals are readying an opening bid of roughly 5 billion pounds ($6.00 billion) for the club, according to a report by Bloomberg News on Thursday citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The Bloomberg report said a consortium including Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the country’s former prime minister and ex-head of the Qatar Investment Authority, is putting the final touches on a proposal to acquire the club.
The Office of the Qatari Royal and Manchester United did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Bloomberg report.
A deal for the record 13-times English Premier League winners will likely exceed the biggest sports deal so far, the $5.2 billion – including debt and investments – paid for Chelsea, the sources added.
Manchester United is the fourth richest soccer club in the world, according to analysis by Deloitte.
A small portion of Manchester United shares is listed in the United States with a market capitalization of more than $4 billion, as of Wednesday’s close.