Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group is considering whether to offer to buy a minority stake in Manchester United in an effort to break the impasse over the ownership situation.
The Glazer family, who currently own the club, announced in November they were considering selling United as they “explore strategic alternatives”.
That led to a flurry of interest but only two offers, from Ineos and Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Both tabled bids of around £5bn.
Sheikh Jassim’s camp have always maintained he was only interested in buying 100% of the club. However Ratcliffe said he wanted a majority stake.
But after months of what has seemed like inaction on the Glazers’ part, British businessman Ratcliffe is now thinking about a different approach.
Buying a minority stake may not go down well with United supporters, who have held demonstrations against the Glazer family inside and outside Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe may regard this method as his best way of securing the ownership in the long term.
The move would allow the Glazer family to retain a significant shareholding in United, although the precise details of any deal remain unclear.