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Ineos CEO Seals Deal to Buy Stake in Manchester United Soccer Club

Sir Jim Ratcliffe finally got his wish on Christmas Eve, and it only cost him $1.6 billion.

Norbert Sparrow

January 2, 2024

2 Min Read
Ineos CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Image courtesy of Ineos

At a Glance

  • Transaction valued at $1.6 billion
  • Ratcliffe a “lifelong supporter” of the team

If nothing else, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of Ineos Group Ltd., is persistent. After a failed attempt to buy a stake in London’s Chelsea Football Club in 2022, he declared an interest that same year in purchasing another storied UK soccer team, Manchester United Football Club. That finally came to pass this Christmas Eve, when Ratcliffe entered into an agreement to acquire 25% of Manchester United’s Class B shares and up to 25% of its Class A shares. Ineos will also provide an additional $300 million to support future investments into the Old Trafford stadium. All in all, a coveted Christmas present for the second wealthiest person in the United Kingdom, according to the Sunday Times.

As part of the £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) transaction, Ineos said it has accepted a request by the board to be delegated responsibility for the management of the club’s football operations. This will include all aspects of the men's and women's football operations and academies, alongside two seats on the boards of Manchester United PLC and Manchester United Football Club. 

The joint ambition is to create a world-class football operation building on the club’s many existing strengths, including the successful off-pitch performance that it continues to enjoy, Ineos said in a press release on its website.

Related:Ineos’ Owner in for Manchester United

Calling himself “a lifelong supporter of the club,” Ratcliffe noted that Manchester United has not achieved its full potential in recent years. The club, which plays in England’s Premier League, was purchased by Malcolm Glazer in 2005, and his six children have been the majority owners since he passed away. Their leadership has been criticized over the years for incurring debt without showing commensurate results on the pitch. “Whilst the commercial success of the club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times,” commented Ratcliffe in a prepared statement. “We will bring the global knowledge, expertise, and talent from the wider Ineos Sport group to help drive further improvement at the club, while also providing funds intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford,” said Ratcliffe.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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