Manchester United and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are hopeful of announcing their partnership over the international break, a source has told ESPN.
British billionaire Ratcliffe, chairman and CEO of chemical company INEOS, is set to acquire a 25% stake in the club for around £1.25bn.
Sources have told ESPN that the deal will also give Ratcliffe some influence over the football side of the business. Sir Dave Brailsford, director of sport at INEOS, is expected to be heavily involved.
It has been almost a year since United’s American owners, the Glazer family, announced they were considering selling the club.
Both Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani submitted bids for a full takeover worth around £5bn.
But neither offer was accepted by the Glazers and instead they are set to agree to a deal with Ratcliffe which will allow them to keep their majority shareholding.
Sources have told ESPN that Ratcliffe is hopeful of increasing his stake to eventually become majority owner but the timescale for the 71-year-old to acquire more shares is unclear. The Glazers have been deeply unpopular owners with fans since their heavily leveraged buy-out in 2005.
A source has told ESPN that once Ratcliffe becomes a United shareholder, he is ready to invest further funds to improve both Old Trafford and the club’s Carrington training ground.
INEOS creditors have been assured that Ratcliffe’s involvement with United will come from his personal wealth rather than company funds.