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Ratcliffe secures minority stake in Man United and vows to lift English club to top of world soccer

MANCHESTER, England — British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe expressed his desire to lift Manchester United “to the top of English, European and world ” after completing his purchase of a minority stake in the iconic club on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old Ratcliffe paid $1.3 billion for up to 25% of United and has already invested $200 million for additional shares, meaning he owns approximately 27.7%, the club said.

United said Ratcliffe intends to invest a further $100 million by Dec. 31 “to enable future investment in infrastructure at Old Trafford.”

The deal had already been approved by the English Football Association while the Premier League has cleared Ratcliffe to take up a minority share under its rules regarding who is allowed to be an owner or director of a soccer club.

Ratcliffe is one of Britain’s richest people and the owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS. He agreed to a deal to buy a stake in United in December after the Glazer family, which owns the club, put it up for sale in 2022.

“To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honor and comes with great responsibility,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.

“This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world , with world-class facilities for our fans. Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

The Glazers, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, eventually opted to sell a minority stake of the 20-time English champion after also fielding bids from Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.

“I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner,” executive co-chairman Joel Glazer said, “and look forward to working closely with him and INEOS Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

United hasn’t won the Premier League since 2013, the last season of Alex Ferguson’s nearly 27 years as the team’s manager. United’s most recent Champions League title was in 2008.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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