Those who wish to buy Manchester United will have to submit a one-paragraph only offer – disclosing simply their bid and the percentage of the club they will to take – by next Friday.
Proof of funds will also have to be attached in what is being viewed as a landmark day in the battle for arguably the world’s biggest football club.
Sportsmail revealed that a group of private Qatari investors are to make a bid and believe that theirs will be the strongest offer. Work on that bid is progressing at speed, it can be disclosed.
Five serious offers to take control of the club from the Glazer family are expected. They will be made to US merchant bank Raine, which is running the process, with dozens more likely to be on the table in the shape of investment rather than total takeover.
When the bids are in, the battle will move to the next stage, which is likely to be the most intense. Raine will have the task of reducing those who have made offers to a key group of around two or three serious contenders
They will then face-off in a race to become the preferred bidder. At that stage, full access to United’s financials will be granted, to allow deep dives.
Those who previously expressed an interest have been given entry to the ‘data room’, where agreed figures are electronically stored. They provide an outline of where the club is financially, rather than an in-depth picture.
Should the bidders not meet the Glazers’ valuation, and the Americans are thought to want around £6bn, they could instead head down the investment route. However, those involved expect a sale.
The Qatar group, separate from Qatar Sports Investments, who own Paris Saint-Germain, are now stepping up their efforts ahead of bid submission and ‘working around the clock’ according to those with knowledge of the situation
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, is the only bidder to have gone public. He has sort backing from investment banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Other bids are expected from the United States while groups from Asia and Saudi Arabia have also expressed an interest.