Who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe? Man Utd's new minority stakeholder with sporting control

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 28 Dec 2023 10:56 GMT
  • 4 min read
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Man Utd, Old Trafford, 2023/24
© ProShots

Ineos billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has completed a 25% minority takeover of Manchester United, having been one of the leading candidates to buy the club since the Glazers put the club up for sale in late 2022.

Ratcliffe is a figure who had been closely linked with the Red Devils in the past and has reportedly been a lifelong supporter of the club.

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The 71-year-old is one of Britain’s richest men, having started life as the son of a joiner who lived in a council house.

Now he commands the type of fortune that has allowed him to bid for Chelsea in the past and has now seen him take over a quarter of Man Utd initially, potentially stretching to the whole club in the future.

A deal was officially announced on December 24, 2023, and Ratcliffe acquired full control of the club's sporting operations, with his people now in charge of recruitment and appointing and sacking managers.

How much money does Sir Jim Ratcliffe have?

Ratcliffe reportedly has a fortune worth $20.5 billion. To put this in comparison, Chelsea part-owner Todd Boehly has a worth of $6.1bn.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of Nice
© ProShots - Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of Nice

How did he make his money?

Ratcliffe worked primarily in the petrochemical industry, starting out with Esso before founding his own companies. Inspec, which he co-founded, bought unwanted operations from other groups, targeted specifically with their earning potential in mind. He ultimately founded Ineos to buy out this company.

Ratcliffe’s failed Chelsea bid

Ratcliffe tabled a late £4.25 billion offer to buy Chelsea, he confirmed when the club was put up for sale in May following Roman Abramovich’s assets being frozen due to his alleged links with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In a statement, it was confirmed: “Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos, has made a formal bid for Chelsea FC, for £4.25bn. £2.5bn is committed to the Charitable Trust to support victims of the war, with £1.75bn committed to investment directly into the club over the next 10 years.

“This is a British bid, for a British club.

“We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community.

We will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans
- Ineos statement

“That is why we are committing to spending £1.75bn over 10 years that will be for the direct benefit of the club.

“We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC.

“This will be organic and ongoing so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.”

He was ultimately beaten to Chelsea by the Todd Boehly-Clearlake consortium, whose bid was considered to be around the same magnitude.

What other clubs does Ratcliffe own?

When Ratcliffe has added Man Utd to a portfolio of football clubs that is already a couple strong.

The Ineos boss initially invested in Swiss outfit Lausanne in 2017 but that has proven to be an unsuccessful venture, with the club bouncing between the Super League and the second tier.

Khephren Thuram is a rising star at Nice
© ProShots - Khephren Thuram is a rising star at Nice

Subsequently, he bought a controlling stake in Ligue 1 outfit Nice. This has gone more smoothly, with the Allianz Riviera side fighting for Champions League qualification this season, although they have yet to reach the group stages under his stewardship.

He has not poured his wealth into either of these clubs.

Read more about: Premier League, Man Utd

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