Ratcliffe has publicly confirmed his interest in taking over Manchester United from the Glazer family

Sir Jim Ratclife’s net worth: How the Ineos billionaire made his money and why he wants to buy Man Utd

Self-made man Sir Jim made his billions in the petrochemicals industry (Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

By Tim Sigsworth

Petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has publicly declared his interest in buying Manchester United football club from the controversial Glazer family.

The Glazers are reportedly willing to sell a minority stake in the club to inject fresh investment, with Ratcliffe keen to enter talks if taking full control in the long-term is a possibility.

Sources have told i that it would take an offer of around £6bn for the Glazers to consider selling.

The club’s chaotic start to the season under new manager Erik ten Hag has ramped up the pressure on its owners after a dismal transfer window.

The Glazers purchased the club in 2005 in a £790m deal that used the club as a guarantee on hundreds of millions in borrowed money. Since then, United’s interest payments of £824m have dwarfed operating profits of £654m.

Who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe?

Ratcliffe is the chairman of Ineos, a multi-billion pound business he founded in 1998 and owns two thirds of.

Born in Lancashire and raised in East Yorkshire, Ratcliffe lived in a council house until the age of 10 and attended the University of Birmingham after attending grammar school.

The 69-year-old started out in oil with Esso before moving into private equity and then forming his first chemicals company in 1992.

That company became Ineos six years later, and the firm has since grown into the world’s fourth largest petrochemicals business.

How much is he worth?

Estimates of billionaires’ fortunes fluctuate notoriously, but Sir Jim came 25th on 2021’s Sunday Times Rich List with a net worth of £6.33bn. Just three years earlier, he topped the list with a supposed worth of more than £21billion.

What is clear, however, is that Ratcliffe is a very wealthy man indeed. Ineos operates 194 sites across 29 countries, has annual revenues of £50bn and employs more than 26,000 people.

Why does he want to buy Manchester United?

In recent years, Ratcliffe has poured money into sport, acquiring Swiss club Lausanne, Ben Ainslie’s sailing team, Ligue 1’s OGC Nice and cycling outfit Team Sky – now Ineos Grenadiers.

He sponsored Eliud Kipchoge’s 2019 attempt to run a marathon in under two hours, became partners of the Mercedes F1 team a year later and signed a six-year sponsorship deal with the All Blacks last summer.

Those sporting adventures appeared to reach new heights in May when he submitted a bid for Chelsea – where he owns a season ticket – that ultimately came too late, with Todd Boehly’s consortium winning the day and taking over from Roman Abramovich.

It is clear, then, that Ratcliffe is ready to step into the owner’s chair at an elite football club. With the supporters of his boyhood club clamouring for a saviour, he has decided the right time is now and Old Trafford is the place for him.

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