The Manchester United sale saga will last at least a bit longer — and may have a new protagonist.
The Raine Group, the New York-based investment bank handling the sale of the legendary club, had set a deadline of 9 p.m. Manchester local time on Wednesday for any interested parties to submit bids — only to extend the deadline to an unspecified time in the closing hours, per multiple reports.
It’s reportedly unclear which of the two central finalists — Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe — asked for the extension first. Flexibility talks appear to have taken place at least 24 hours before the initial deadline.
Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe were reportedly set to submit bids in excess of $6.2 billion — a world-record sale price for a sports team. There were projected to be up to eight offers for the club, though not all were for outright ownership.
The deadline extension has also opened the door for a new bidder to enter the fray: On Thursday, Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus announced his bid for Man United.
In a phone interview with Bloomberg, Zilliacus would not disclose the value of his offer, but said he had the means to finance “whatever the number is that we agree to.” He also expressed a desire to meet the Glazer family closer to their initial asking price for the club.
“I am not surprised if they say they won’t sell for less than £6 billion ($7.4 billion),” said Zilliacus.