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David Ornstein explains how the Glazers could retain control of Man Utd as minority shareholders

David Ornstein explains how the Glazers could retain control of Man Utd as minority shareholders

The deadline for final bids is Friday.

David Ornstein has explained how the Glazers could potentially retain control of Manchester United even if they become minority shareholders of the Premier League club.

The Glazer family, who have owned United since 2005, announced in November they were exploring 'strategic alternatives' for the club – including a full sale.

Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has made an offer to buy United in full, while Britain's richest man, Ratcliffe, is attempting to secure a majority stake in the club.

A number of United States-based investment funds are also prepared to offer financial support to the Glazers in return for a minority stake.

Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe are both expected to submit revised bids for the club before the final deadline on Friday.

The Daily Mail claim British billionaire Ratcliffe is prepared to agree to a deal which would allow United co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer to retain a stake in the club if he becomes the majority shareholder.

It is claimed that one of the options on the table for the American owners would see Ratcliffe take a majority stake of more than 50 per cent, with the two Glazers retaining a combined 20 per cent.

Ornstein explains how the Glazers could stay in control

Even if Ratcliffe's offer is accepted, the Glazer siblings could keep hold of the reins of power at Old Trafford because of the two-tiered shared system implemented when the club was floated on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.

Speaking to Rio Ferdinand's FIVE podcast, The Athletic journalist David Ornstein explained how this is possible.

Reacting to the news that Ratcliffe could be prepared to do a deal with Joel and Avram Glazer, Ornstein said: "A really important point to make in this is that when Manchester United were floated on the New York Stock Exchange by the Glazers, they inserted a clause – a mechanism – that stated the most important and powerful shares, which are called Class B shares, can only be owned by the family themselves.

"Those Class B shares have 10 times more voting rights than the other shares, which are called Class A shares. If any of the Class B shares are sold by the family to non-family members, such as Sheikh Jassim or Jim Ratcliffe, then they will convert into Class A shares – with 10 times less voting rights.

"So there's every chance that members of the Glazer family will sell to Jim Ratcliffe, or whoever, that will take that person over 50 per cent to become the majority shareholder – but not of the most powerful shares.

“That means that even if Joel and Avram Glazer stay with 20 per cent, then that 20 per cent of Class B shares could make them more influential than the majority shareholder and in greater control.

"Unless that mechanism, that rule, that clause that was brought in, is either revoked or changed."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy & Rio Ferdinand's FIVE

Topics: Manchester United, Football, Premier League