Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has made a third and final offer to buy Manchester United, sources told AFP on Friday.
Sheikh Jassim is in a bidding war with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe after the pair emerged as the main contenders to buy the Premier League club from the Glazer family.
Ratcliffe is also reported to have made another offer for United ahead of Friday’s deadline for the third round of bidding.
While Sheikh Jassim’s latest offer is reported to be over £5 billion ($6.2 billion), the size of Ratcliffe’s improved bid is yet to be made public.
Sources said Sheikh Jassim’s bid comes with the promise of significant additional funding for transfers and infrastructure.
The spending would include either redeveloping United’s outdated Old Trafford stadium or building a new ground, along with overhauling the club’s training facilities.
The Glazers reportedly want a world record £6 billion fee for a sports club before they agree to sell the Old Trafford outfit, raising the possibility they might not accept either Sheikh Jassim’s offer or Ratcliffe’s approach.
Deeply unpopular with supporters since they saddled the club with debt in a £790 million leveraged takeover in 2005, the Glazers appeared ready to cash out at an enormous profit when they first invited external investment in November.
However, Elliot Investment Management and The Carlyle Group are among the private equity firms in the market for a minority stake that could allow the Glazers to retain control and provide the funding for investment in the club’s infrastructure, such as a redevelopment of Old Trafford.
According to reports, executive co-chairmen Avram and Joel Glazer are keen to hold on to their stakes in United, while siblings and fellow directors Kevin, Bryan and Edward Glazer and Darcie Glazer Kassewitz are open to offloading their shares.
Offers from the second round of bidding last month were believed to have been worth a maximum of £5 billion.
That would smash the Premier League record of £2.5 billion paid for Chelsea last year by a consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital, with a further £1.75 billion promised in investment in infrastructure and players.