Trawlers Ltd, a holding company wholly owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has announced the successful purchase of a minority stake in English soccer giants Manchester United.

The investment, reportedly worth around $1.6 billion, sees Ratcliffe take an overall 27.7% stake in the club, composed of 25% of the club’s class A shares (which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange), class B shares (owned by the club’s majority owners, the Glazer family), and a further $300 million investment into the infrastructure of the club itself.

The deal was agreed on in December 2023, when the club confirmed that Ratcliffe would become a minority shareholder, and Trawlers finalized the purchase of the shares following the expiration of a tender on 17 February 2024.

The additional $300 million investment will come in two parts, with the initial £200 million to be put immediately into the club to improve the infrastructure at its iconic Old Trafford stadium, which Man Utd are reportedly planning to redevelop or expand over the coming years, while the further $100 million will be dispensed before the end of 2024, though likely in the latter half of the year as to spread the investment across two financial years.

Ratcliffe’s entry into Man Utd marks the end of a years-long saga that began with the businessman aiming to purchase the majority of the club in 2022 before the Glazers reassessed the prospect of a sale.

Ratcliffe was left as the sole bidder for a 25% stake in the club in October 2023 but even still the negotiations were protracted.

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Now though, Ratcliffe has finally bought into the side he claims to have supported his whole life and is expected to seek the increase of his stake over the coming years before a full buyout of the Glazers.

Ratcliffe stated of the purchase: “To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honor and comes with great responsibility. This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European, and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans. Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

The sporting wing of Ineos, Ratcliffe’s petrochemicals business, will take over the sporting side of the business from the Glazers and has already had influence in new hirings at the club.

The deal will see Ineos step back from management of French top-tier soccer side OGC Nice, to allow both to compete in UEFA international club competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and Europa League without falling foul of integrity rules.

Ineos purchased Nice in 2019, and also owns Swiss soccer club Lausanne, which it purchased in 2017 and would likely also have to step back from should they improve enough to enter European competition (the club was only promoted to the Swiss top-tier Super League at the end of the 2022-23 season and currently sit second bottom).