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Who Is Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the Prospective Manchester United Shareholder?

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, among Britain's wealthiest individuals, has made a fortune by revitalizing undervalued assets. He's now poised to acquire a 25% stake in the illustrious Manchester United football club for roughly £1.25 billion.
Despite Manchester United's struggles on the field under manager Erik ten Hag, the club remains a commercial success with global support. Ratcliffe's interest in United became public in January, following the Glazers' announcement of a possible sale.

The Glazers have faced scrutiny for perceived underinvestment since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013 led to the club's decline. Only recently, in the 2022/23 season, did the club secure the Carabao Cup, ending a trophy drought since 2017.

Sir Jim, originally a Manchester United supporter from Failsworth, grew his wealth through savvy business acquisitions, with estimates ranging from $18bn to £30bn.

He founded Ineos, a chemical giant, after purchasing parts of companies like BP. Ineos now has a global presence, with 194 sites in 29 countries, generating sales of around £50bn and employing over 26,000 people. The company's products are found in everyday items, from packaging to electronics.

Ratcliffe's business history includes a chemical engineering degree, work with BP and Esso, and a pivotal move into private equity with Advent International. By 1992, he co-owned Inspec, later creating Ineos in 1998 through strategic acquisitions.

Known for bold decisions and tough negotiations, Ratcliffe notably faced union disputes at Scotland's Grangemouth plant in 2013, resulting in a controversial survival plan.

Despite environmental backlash for importing US fracking gas in 2016, Sir Jim continues to invest in the UK, including a £2.5bn investment despite relocating to tax-favorable Monaco.

His ventures expanded beyond chemicals to automotive, purchasing Belstaff luxury wear, partnering with the Mercedes F1 team, and taking over the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team.

Already owning football teams in France and Switzerland, Ratcliffe made a failed bid for Chelsea before setting his sights on Manchester United. His deal will grant him influence over football operations and include $300m for the club's infrastructure.
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