Manchester United’s owners announced their intention on Tuesday to explore the sale of the iconic club, saying a “process to explore strategic alternatives” had begun.
Those alternatives could include the total sale of the club by the Glazer family, who took control of Manchester United in 2005.
“As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company,” said a United statement.
The sale of the club isn’t guaranteed, according to the statement.
“There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the Company,” it reads.
Avram and Joel Glazer are quoted in the statement, saying: “As we seek to continue building on the Club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
“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.
“Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
United confirmed that the Raine Group is acting as financial adviser to the Glazer family, while Latham and Watkins LLP is legal counsel to the company. Rothschild and Co. is acting as financial adviser to the family shareholders.
United is a rarity in the world of sports and finance.
It’s one of the few publicly traded major sports franchises, but there are some others. Shares of two rivals of United are publicly traded on European exchanges – Germany’s Borussia Dortmund trades in Frankfurt while Italy’s Juventus is listed in Milan.
According to Forbes, Manchester United is the third most valuable football club in the world at $4.6 billion – behind only Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
However, the club hasn’t won a trophy since 2017 and has had a succession of managers since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Current incumbent Erik ten Hag is the fifth permanent manager to be appointed by United since Alex Ferguson, following David Moyes, Luis van Gaal, José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Earlier on Tuesday, United announced that Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving the club with immediate effect.
In a brief statement, United said the decision, which comes a week after Ronaldo gave an explosive TV interview about his frustrations at the club, was made by mutual agreement.