Ineos Group Ltd. CEO Jim Ratcliffe has agreed to buy a 25 percent stake in Manchester United plc, one of the world's wealthiest soccer clubs, through a stock acquisition deal worth $1.58 billion.
In a joint statement on Dec. 24, the two parties said Ratcliffe had agreed to acquire 25 percent of the Class B shares owned by the U.S.-based Glazer family. Ineos would also provide "an additional $300 million intended to enable future investment" in Old Trafford."
Old Trafford is the name of the club's stadium. Manchester United competes in England's Premier League.
"As part of the transaction, Ineos has accepted a request by the [Manchester United] board to be delegated responsibility for the management of the club's football operations," the statement added.
The deal is subject to "customary regulatory approvals," both sides pointed out.
The Glazer family, whose fortune derives from real estate services, especially those related to shopping malls, has owned Manchester United for the past two decades and the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1995. Its principal operations are in Florida and Rochester, New York.
Ineos is already a major sponsor of soccer, F1, cycling, sailing and rugby union teams. The London-headquartered company is a global petrochemicals manufacturer. Its plastics products include polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, polystyrene, composites and ABS.
Ratcliffe, a life-long Manchester United supporter, said: "We are here for the long term. … We are committed to working with everyone at the club — the board, staff, players and fans — to help drive the club forward.
"Our shared ambition is clear: we all want to see Manchester United back where we belong, at the very top of English, European and world football."