Sir Jim Ratcliffe: UK billionaire officially enters bidding to buy Man United

 Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain's richest men, has confirmed through his company that he has entered the race to buy Manchester United.

The Manchester-born billionaire, a childhood United fan, issued a statement through his chemicals company Ineos on Tuesday.

"We have formally put ourselves into the process," the statement said. Ratcliffe, who is worth $15.5 billion (£12.6bn), is the company's chairman and chief executive.

United's current American owners, the Glazer family, announced in November that were willing to listen to offers for the club, which they bought in 2005.

It is believed that the Glazers value the club at £5bn. They have been massively unpopular with United fans since their leveraged £790m takeover. There have been several large-scale protests against their ownership.

United were debt-free before the takeover but the Glazers have reportedly taken £1bn out of the club to service their debt, as well as paying themselves huge dividends.

Ratcliffe made a last-minute bid to buy Chelsea last year after they were put on the market by Roman Abramovich, who was forced to sell the club due to his links to Russia president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

An American consortium headed by Todd Boehly won the bid to take over the West London club, paying £2.5bn, and vowing to commit £1.75bn in further investment.

Ratcliffe, 70, owns French Ligue 1 side Nice, which he bought for €100m, as well as Swiss Super League club FC Lausanne Sport.

In March 2019, he purchased the Team Sky cycling franchise, rebranding it Ineos Grenadiers.

In 2018, he also partnered with Ben Ainslie to form Team Ineos UK to compete in the 36th America's Cup. He reportedly invested £100m in the project.

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