Manchester United shares climb as Premier League approves Ratcliffe deal



Manchester United’s stock climbed Tuesday as the Premier League approved British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of a 25% minority stake in the iconic English club.

Shares of operator Manchester United Ltd.
MANU,
+8.67%
rose 8.2%, while the S&P 500 index
SPX
declined 1.3%.

The stock is on pace for its largest daily percent increase since Nov. 17, 2023, when it rose 7.87%, Dow Jones Market Data show.

Ratcliffe, the chief executive of the chemical giant Ineos, reached an agreement to buy 25% of the club from the American Glazer family last year. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Manchester United told MarketWatch that the deal has been approved by the Premier League.

Related: Manchester United’s stock rises after Jim Ratcliffe clinches 25% stake and vows to return club to soccer’s pinnacle

The Premier League applies a test to all prospective owners and directors of Premier League clubs to ensure their suitability. They are then subject to a review each season. “The Owners’ and Directors’ Test outlines requirements that would prohibit an individual from becoming an owner or director of a club,” the Premier League notes on its website. “These include criminal convictions for a wide range of offences, a ban by a sporting or professional body, or breaches of certain key football regulations, such as match-fixing.”

In a statement, the Premier League said that Ratcliffe’s acquisition of a 25% stake in Manchester United and a further investment of $300 million in the club has been approved by the Premier League Board following the completion of the Owners’ and Directors’ test. “The Premier League now awaits confirmation of the transaction’s completion,” the Premier League said.

The deal’s approval by the Football Association is pending, according to Manchester United, although the Guardian reports that this is expected to be a formality.

The Football Association directed MarketWatch to Manchester United for comment.

Related: Manchester United football club announces deal to sell up to 25% of club to Jim Ratcliffe

In a filing this week, the club announced that the deadline for Ratcliffe’s tender offer has been extended to one minute after 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 16. Previously the deadline was one minute after 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday. The filing also said that Ratcliffe’s liquid assets “were in excess of $4 billion.”

Manchester United is the most successful team in the history of the English top division, which it has won 20 times. A record 13 of those titles have come in the Premier League era, which began in 1992. Founded as Newton Heath in 1878, the club became Manchester United in 1902 and won the first of its 20 league titles six years later.

Led by manager Erik ten Hag, Manchester United last year clinched its first silverware in six years with a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United in the League Cup final.

The club, which defeated West Ham United 3-0 on Sunday, is currently sixth in the Premier League. Manchester United’s next game is against Luton Town on Feb. 18.

Related: Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe meets with Manchester United for sale talks

Manchester United shares have fallen 11.1% in the last 52 weeks, compared with the S&P 500’s gain of 19.9%.



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