British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is close to acquiring a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United.
ESPN reports that this could see his INEOS team have “sporting influence” at Old Trafford.
It is understood that Ratcliffe was “more savvy in his deal execution” than rival bidder Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim.
Jassim, on Saturday, withdrew his interest in buying United after failing to negotiate a full takeover of the club from their American owners, the Glazer family.
Sheikh Jassim’s exit from the race has paved the way for Ratcliffe to acquire a 25 per cent shareholding from the Glazers, who own 69 per cent of United.
The remaining shares are owned by smaller investors on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ratcliffe will reportedly pay between £1.3 billion and £1.5 billion for the stake despite United’s current market value at around £2.6 billion.