West News Wire: 17 years after the American Glazer family acquired the English football team Manchester United, a process to investigate strategic alternatives, such as a fresh investment or prospective sale, has begun.
The Old Trafford club said in a statement that the Glazer family is engaging with financial advisors on the process, which might result in investments like stadium and infrastructure reconstruction or a partial sale of the team.
The Glazers have come under heavy fire for the team’s five-year trophy drought as Manchester United supporters have been calling for a change in ownership.
The Europa League and League Cup were their most recent victories in 2017.
“As we seek to continue building on the club’s history of success, the board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives,” Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, executive co-chairmen and directors of United, said in the statement on Tuesday.
“We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the club today and in the future.”
There has also been turmoil in the club after Cristiano Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by the club and expressed his unhappiness at how things were run.
On Tuesday, the club announced the Portuguese captain was leaving Manchester United by mutual consent.
In August, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe had expressed interest in buying United, Reuters news agency reported. At the time, Elon Musk had also joked about planning to buy the club.
Wealthy Asian tycoons, especially those from China, have been buying European teams in recent years including Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers and Italy’s Inter Milan.
The owners are under pressure with United sitting fifth in the Premier League halfway through the season.
Manchester United shares jumped as much as 20 percent after Sky News first reported on the sale process, giving the club a market capitalisation of $2.6bn.
The company was worth $2.5bn at the close of US trading on Tuesday. At its peak as a public company, it had a market capitalisation of $4.3bn in 2018.