Thomas Zilliacus ‘makes takeover bid for Manchester United’ with unique opportunity for fans
Indian businessman Thomas Zilliacus says he has submitted an offer to buy Manchester United.
Zilliacus, founder and chairman of Mobile FutureWorks Group, went public with his unusual offer for the Premier League giants in a lengthy statement released on Thursday.
In it, Zilliacus said it would fund half of the money needed for the takeover, with fans then having to come together and help buy the other half through a new company being created.
He further promised that every fan who contributed would have access to an app to vote on on all United football matters.
“Any sports club should belong to its fans,” said Zilliacus, former chairman of Finnish top-flight champions HJK Helsinki and former owner of ice hockey team Helsingin Jokerit.
“The current development, where sheikhs and billionaire oligarchs take control of clubs and control them as their personal playgrounds, is not a healthy trend. The current market value of the club is just under 3, $9 billion. This means that if each of the club’s fans joined in the purchase of the club, the total sum per fan would be less than $ 6. My offer is built on equality with the fans.
“My group will finance half of the sum necessary to take over the club, and will ask the supporters, through a new company which is created for this purpose, to contribute for the other half. If each fan joins , that means less than $3 per fan.
“Every fan who joins will have access to an app that the fan, from anywhere in the world, can use to participate and vote when deciding football matters relating to the club. No decision will be made if it is not supported by the majority of the fans.
“Manchester United should not only be the best football club in the world, they should also be the first club in the world to tackle abuse, racism and hate speech on social media and on sports grounds.
“If we are successful in our bid, we will ensure that Manchester United, the best football club in the world, operates on the basis of respect, equality, dignity, diversity, racial harmony and democracy, and with its global fan base included and involved in all decisions.
The deadline for the latest takeover bids at United was originally set for 9pm GMT on Wednesday evening, although the process was confusing when it later emerged that neither Ineos founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe , nor Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani – the favorites in the race – had submitted new offers.
However, the two will make enhanced second offers for the club before an extended deadline.
A first round of bidding last month would have attracted up to eight separate potential investors, according to the Press Association, with the current owners, the Glazer family, establishing a valuation of £6billion.
Reports emerged on Thursday claiming that Elliott Management, the US investment management firm that previously owned AC Milan, had made an offer to buy a minority stake in United.