US tech giant Apple has joined the race to buy Manchester United, according to reports.
United confirmed the sensational news that the world’s biggest football club is effectively up for sale in a statement issued earlier this week.
With United now available, a report in the Daily Star claims that the world’s biggest technology company could be interested in acquiring the club for £5.8 billion.
The California-based tech firm has never owned a major sports team before, but the commercial opportunities offered by United are believed to be a primary reason for their interest.
Any potential deal would almost certainly become the most expensive acquisition of a football club in history, surpassing the £4.25 billion fee paid by a consortium led by Todd Boehly for Chelsea earlier this year.
One of the big issues over who United will buy is the club’s iconic stadium, Old Trafford. The venue has long been in need of a revamp to compete with the biggest clubs in the world.
It is understood the stadium will cost around £1.5bn to rebuild, making it the most expensive football ground in the world – ahead of Tottenham’s new £1bn stadium.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is the latest high-profile suitor interested in buying Manchester United, according to reports
A top priority for United’s new owners will be upgrading their famous ground, Old Trafford
United legend Gary Neville has backed calls to rebuild the stadium from the ground up
United moved to the ground – nicknamed ‘The Theater of Dreams’ – in 1910 and have called it home ever since. The stadium was recently renovated between 2005 and 2006, adding 8,000 seats.
Red Devils legend Gary Neville has backed calls to completely rebuild the stadium, after stories of plans to demolish the current ground first emerged in February.
He posted on Instagram: ‘There’s a story coming out of Old Trafford that they might rebuild the whole stadium and I’ve just been asked what I think about it. I actually think it would be the right move.
Spanish billionaire ‘wants to buy Manchester United’
Armancio Ortega, founder of clothing brand Zara and the world’s 19th richest man, has reportedly thrown his hat in the ring to buy Manchester United.
United’s current owners, the Glazer family, put fellow billionaires on red alert earlier this week when they revealed they were now open to selling the club.
Amancio Ortega, founder of clothing giant Zara, wants to buy Manchester United
Now, the Manchester Evening News have detailed that Ortega has ‘already spoken to executives at Old Trafford’ to announce his interest in buying United.
On the day it was revealed that Apple is interested in buying Manchester United for $5.8 billion, news of interest from Ortega will intrigue fans desperate to see the Glazers’ reign end.
Ortega is 86 and worth $61.3 billion, according to the Forbes billionaires-rich-list.
The Spanish fashion billionaire has no previous experience running a sports team and has instead made his money in real estate and fashion.
He owns 59 percent of the Inditex clothing empire, which he started in 1975, and appointed his daughter Maria Ortega Pérez as chairwoman of Zara last year.
Ortega, who has three children, would represent a change from the Glazer family, who have owned Manchester United since 2005.
But there is expected to be plenty of competition for United, as they are one of the most profitable companies in all of sport.
‘I think by the time they’ve spent money on Old Trafford, the existing one, then I think you’d be better off building a new, better, super stadium. I think Manchester United should always be at the front of the stadium, have the best facilities and they have fallen behind.’
CEO Cook is the latest in a string of high-profile figures to have shown an interest in taking over at Old Trafford.
Now-Twitter CEO Elon Musk joked on the platform this summer that he would buy the club, with the 51-year-old’s post garnering more than 800,000 likes.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor has also thrown his hat into the ring, having previously expressed an interest in taking over the club.
After the European Super League was announced in April last year, the 34-year-old wrote on Twitter: ‘Hey guys, I’m thinking of buying Manchester United! What do you think?’
Elon Musk (left) and Conor McGregor (right) have previously shown interest in buying the club
The Irishman added that he would like to acquire a sports team ‘at some stage’.
‘To be honest first there was a conversation about Celtic. to acquire shares from Dermot Desmond. I am definitely interested in acquiring a sports team at some stage! Celtic and Man United are both my favorite teams. But I’m open. I think I can do great things for a club.’
Joel and Abram Glazer have been largely unpopular with fans since taking over the club in 2005.
The reaction to United’s takeover by American investment bankers was such that some supporters formed Manchester breakaway club FC United in protest.
Dissatisfaction with United’s management led to the green and gold movement, with fans wearing scarves in the club’s original colours, and led to a series of protests both inside and outside Old Trafford.
A club statement from Tuesday outlined the Glazers’ intention to sell: ‘Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU), one of the world’s most successful and historic sports clubs, today announced that the company’s board of directors (‘the board’) will explore a strategic alternative for the club. Starting the process.
The Glazers confirmed this week that they are ready to sell United after 17 years at the club
‘The process is designed to enhance the club’s future growth, with the ultimate aim of enabling the club to capitalize on both on-field and commercial opportunities.
‘As part of this process, the board will consider all strategic options, including new investments in the club, sales, or other transactions involving the company.
‘This will include the evaluation of various initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and the expansion of the club’s commercial activities worldwide in the context of enhancing the club’s men’s, women’s and club’s long-term success. Bringing benefits to academy teams, and fans and other stakeholders.’
Discontent with Glazer’s ownership has also spilled over into the dressing room, with Cristiano Ronaldo voicing his displeasure with the American’s stewardship of the club in his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo – whose contract with the club was terminated after his extensive chat with the broadcaster – said Joel and Avram Glazer ‘don’t care’ about United.
“The owners of the club, the Glazers, they don’t care about the club,” he said. ‘I mean, the professional game, as you know, Manchester (United) is a marketing club. They’ll get their money from marketing – the sport, in my opinion, they don’t really care about.’
Ronaldo said he ‘never’ talks to the owners and expressed his fears that the club will be behind rivals Manchester City and Liverpool for next year.
‘You have certain things inside the club that don’t help you reach the top level like Manchester (United) City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal, for example… which is complicated, it’s difficult.’
Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer has spoken publicly for the first time as the club is put up for sale as American ownership seeks new investment or a total buyout.
Speaking in Florida on Thursday, United co-owner Abram Glazer said of United’s sale: ‘We announced yesterday, the board went through a process and it decided it would look at different strategic options and that’s what we’re doing. ‘
When Glazer was told that most United fans felt his family should have sold the club years ago, he replied: ‘Again, we’re going through a process, we’ll look at different strategic options and we’ll see where it leads. . Us.
‘I appreciate you talking to me tonight and I’m going to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.’
Asked about Ronaldo’s acrimonious departure, Glazer said: ‘I’ll tell you about Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s a great Manchester United player and I appreciate what he’s done for the club and I wish him all the best for the future.’