Who are the Glazer family and what is their net worth? Improved offer from Qatari Sheikh on table

·4-min read
Avram Glazer watches on as his team Manchester United play  (Getty Images)
Avram Glazer watches on as his team Manchester United play (Getty Images)

Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has risen his offer to buy Manchester United despite the current owners, the Glazer family, preferring the British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe to take over.

The Sheikh’s latest offer, believed to be in the region of £5 billion, has been submitted to investment bank the Raine Group, who are overseeing the sale, as part of the third and final round of bidding. It is thought the Glazers want £6 billion for the Red Devils.

It was previously reported in The Sun that Sir Jim, the chemicals magnate, was the first choice having been engaged in a five-month-long bidding war for ownership of the club he has supported since he was a boy.

The Glazers put Britain’s biggest football club up for sale in November last year. Nearly 200 days later, Old Trafford insiders told the Sun that the Glazers would prefer to sell majority control to Ratcliffe’s Ineos Sport rather than selling the whole club to Sheikh Jassim.

Last month, shares in Manchester United fell to their lowest point since November, following a report that the Glazer family could remain owners of the club.

Despite recent on-pitch troubles at Old Trafford (the club had not won a trophy for six years until their Carabao Cup success in February 2023), the Red Devils still rank among the most popular and marketable football teams in the world. They have won the English top-flight title a record 20 times and the European Cup three times, among a host of other trophies.

But who are the Glazers and why are they selling United?

Who are the Glazer family?

The Glazers have not been popular owners of Manchester United (REUTERS)
The Glazers have not been popular owners of Manchester United (REUTERS)

Malcolm Glazer was a businessman and owner of a sports franchise in America, who died in 2014.

Born in New York, he started out at his father's watch parts company aged eight. When he was 15, his father died and he sold watches door-to-door to support his family.

In his later years, Glazer was the owner of United and the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was also the president and chief executive of First Allied Corporation, a holding company for his multiple business endeavours.

United is currently owned by his six children. The Glazers bought the club for £790 million in 2005 in a highly leveraged deal that has been criticised for loading debt onto the club.

They sold 10 per cent of their holding via the 2012 US listing and have sold more shares since but retain majority ownership. United’s valuation as a public company peaked at $4.3bn (£3.4bn) in 2018. They were worth $2.5bn (£2.1bn) at the close of US trading recently.

Avram and Joel Glazer watch a training session (Getty Images)
Avram and Joel Glazer watch a training session (Getty Images)

What is their net worth?

Forbes estimated the family’s worth at £3.9 billion.

What does the Glazer family own?

Glazer’s six children, Avram, Bryan, Darcie, Edward, Joel and Kevin own United after he acquired the bulk of the club’s shares through the investment firm Red Football Ltd in 2005.

The six Glazer children each received an equal share of their father’s 90 per cent controlling stake after he died of a protracted illness.

Since their late father's stroke in April 2006, Joel and Avram have been in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club. They are co-chairmen and Bryan, Darcie, Edward and Kevin serve as directors.

Avram Glazer offered shares worth £70 million for sale in March 2021.

Why does the family want to sell Manchester United?

The Glazers are selling United because of debt. The club was debt-free when the Glazers took ownership in 2005. However, the purchase agreement recommended by former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is said to have added more than £500 million in debt to the company.

To the dismay of fans, Malcolm Glazer used a leveraged buyout scheme to finance a large portion of the takeover rather than using his own funds.

This entails borrowing funds against a future asset to purchase that item; in this example, interest payments total more than £60 million annually.

It has been widely claimed that the buyout has cost the club more than £1 billion in interest and other expenses over the years.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the club's debt had increased by 133 per cent to £474 million by the end of 2020.

Since 2015, the club has paid an annual dividend, most of which goes to the Glazers, and the company's tax registration was transferred from Old Trafford to the Cayman Islands in 2012.

The club's 2018–19 financial statements included dividends totalling £23 million. The six Glazer siblings apparently shared about £18 million of this.

Club income has more than doubled since 2005 and United was ranked the third-most-valuable football club in the world by Forbes last May. This was largely due to the significant and diversified commercial partnerships inked under the Glazers.

The club was fourth in the 2023 Deloitte Football Money League, an annual profile of the highest revenue-generating clubs in world football, behind Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City.