Manchester United's owners the Glazer family say they are considering selling the club as they "explore strategic alternatives". The Americans bought the club for £790m ($1.34bn) in 2005. Their move follows years of protest from fans against the ownership. A statement from the club said the board will "consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company". It added that the process "will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club's commercial operations on a global scale" to enhance "the long-term success of the club's men's, women's and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders".
In 2012, the Glazers sold 10% of their holding via a stock listing and sold further shares in the following years. "As we seek to continue building on the club's history of success, the board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives," said executive co-chairmen and directors Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer. "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."
The Glazer family has owned the NFL side Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1995 and Avram Glazer bought a team in the new United Arab Emirates Twenty20 cricket league in 2021. Joel and Avram took over the day-to-day running of United after their father Malcolm suffered a stroke in April 2006. Billionaire Malcolm died aged 85 in 2014. American investment firm Raine Group, who handled Chelsea's £4.25bn sale in May, is exclusively advising United. The statement from the club added: "There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the company. "Manchester United does not intend to make further announcements regarding the review unless and until the board has approved a specific transaction or another course of action requiring a formal announcement." United, who are fifth in the Premier League, have not won the title since 2013 and have not won a trophy since claiming the Europa League and EFL Cup in 2017.
There have been multiple protests against the Glazers' ownership in recent years, including one in May 2021 that caused United's home league match against Liverpool to be postponed. Thousands of supporters marched to Old Trafford in protest before the same fixture this season, in August. United was part of the failed European Super League project that rapidly collapsed in April 2021. Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer later apologized for the unrest it caused. He has since attended fans' forums in the wake of supporter unrest and pledged to make shares available to the club's followers.
According to Transfermarkt, United have a net spend of 1.36bn euros (£1.18bn) on transfers under the Glazers, with only Manchester City having a higher figure in that period. Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United with immediate effect on Tuesday, criticised the club ownership in a controversial interview last week - including saying the Glazer family "don't care about the club" on the sporting side. The move to sell United comes after Liverpool chairman Tom Werner said Fenway Sports Group were "exploring a sale". A Bloomberg report in August 2022 said the Glazer family were willing to sell a minority stake in the club. British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he would be interested in buying United but then stated in October that the Glazer family had told him they did not want to sell.