British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has said he remains focused on completing a takeover of Manchester United as the battle to buy the Red Devils drags on.
Ratcliffe, founder of chemicals giant INEOS, is one of two leading candidates to take over the 20-time English champions, along with Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
United’s current owners, the Glazer family, are understood to value the Premier League club at £6 billion ($7.6 billion), with American bank Raine Group overseeing the bidding.
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, the drawn-out process, even after three rounds of bidding, has left fans further frustrated that a takeover is now unlikely to be completed in time for the start of the new season.
“We have a good offer. We have met the Glazers a couple of times and had a good conversation but at the end of the day it’s their decision,” Ratcliffe said at a book launch on Wednesday.
“We still very much would like to do it. I also believe we would do a good job and do it for the right reasons. We keep very focused on it.”
Sheikh Jassim’s bid team has promised to erase United’s £970 million ($1.2 billion) debt and take control of 100 percent of the club.
In contrast, Ratcliffe has reportedly sought to take a majority stake falling short of 100 percent and could allow executive co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer to retain their stakes in United.
But Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan, said he would not seek to profit during his running of the club, with his returns to come from selling at a future date.
“They ain’t making them any more, Manchester United and these type of clubs,” Ratcliffe added.
“It’s like art or areas like that when you have special things and their value continues to pick up over time because they are very special and rare.
“I don’t like throwing money away or losing money. It doesn’t make me happy at all but we aren’t there to make money out of it. If it’s a really good asset it will increase its value over time.”
Ratcliffe also knocked down any suggestion that INEOS could be handed naming rights to Old Trafford.
“God no. That would be heresy,” he added.