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Finnish entrepreneur bids to buy Man Utd with fans

Published on: 23 March 2023

Zilliacus is the founder and chairman of a new social media group

Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus says he has submitted a bid to buy Manchester United.

Zilliacus wants to buy half of the club with the purchasing of the other half by fans, who will be involved in the club's decision-making process.

Interested parties had until 21:00 GMT on Wednesday to put their bids in but the deadline has since been extended.

"Any sport club ultimately should belong to its fans. My bid is built on equality with fans," said Zilliacus.external-link

"The current development, where billionaire sheiks and oligarchs take over clubs and control them as their personal playgrounds is not a healthy trend.

"The current market value of the club is just under $3.9bn (£3.17bn). That means that if every one of the fans of the club would join in buying the club, the total sum per fan would amount to less than $6.

"My group will finance half of the sum needed to take over the club, and will ask the fans, through a new company that is being set up for this specific purpose, to participate for the other half.

"If every fan joins it means less than $3 per fan."

Zilliacus plans to give fans a say through an app from which they can "participate and cast" their vote "when deciding on footballing matters relating to the club".

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Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim are the only publicly declared bidders and are expected to submit second, revised offers having met with United officials earlier in March.

It is also understood US investment company Elliott has made an offer to purchase a minority stake, irrespective of who ends up owning the club.

Zilliacus, who has previously been involved with HJK Helsinki and ice hockey champions Jokerit in his homeland, is the founder and chairman of new social media group novaM Group.

He wants to buy United through XXI Century Capital, which is an investment firm owned by his holding company.

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