sport news THE RACE FOR MAN UNITED: Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Apple and Amancio Ortega all in ... trends now
The announcement that the Glazer family has put Manchester United up for sale after 17 years of ownership has already led to a number of their fellow billionaires expressing interest.
Manchester United are one of the most popular sports teams in the world, with the Glazers claiming in their announcement on Tuesday that United have 1.1billion supporters.
Given that Chelsea Football Club sold for £4.25billion earlier in the year, the belief around Old Trafford is that a figure north of £5bn will be needed for any interested billionaire to win the race to buy Manchester United.
US tech giant Apple and Spanish fashion mogul Amancio Ortega both reportedly lodged their interest with executives at Manchester United, joining a host of big names to have previously expressed their desire to take the reigns at Old Trafford.
Speaking for the first time publicly since the announcement that the club was up for sale for the first time in 17 years, Avram Glazer said, when confronted by a Sky News reporter in Palm Beach, Florida, 'as we announced yesterday, the board went through a process and it has decided it is going to look at different strategic alternatives.
Furious Manchester United supporters have long protested before, during and after matches, against the Glazer family's ownership, with a green and gold campaign becoming increasingly prominent in the last decade.
The Glazers, who also own NFL American football franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers, won't, however, be forced out on the cheap, and suitors will not be able to gain control of United for a bargain price.
The Raine Group, who helped facility Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital's joint-takeover of Chelsea in the summer, is acting as the Glazers' exclusive financial advisor.
With Liverpool also on the market, after their owners Fenway Sports Group confirmed their willingness to sanction a full sale, interested bidders are likely to consider both clubs - but United remains an incredibly attractive proposition given the commercial pull the club has following decades of success.
The Glazers confirmed this week that they are ready to sell United after 17 years at the club
News of reported interest from US technology giant Apple was celebrated by fans on Thursday, with the world's largest tech company interested in acquiring the club for £5.8billion, according to the Daily Star.
Apple are not alone in this but they have never previously owned a sports team and as such it would be a monumental job to take control of one of the biggest football teams in the world.
As music streaming platform Spotify are finding now, as shirt and stadium sponsor of Spanish team FC Barcelona, the commercial opportunities that United would provide are said to be a primary factor in their interest.
Likewise, Spanish fashion billionaire Amancio Ortega has never been involved in owning or running a professional sports team, but he has reportedly informed United executives of his interest.
The 86-year-old, who is the founder of fashion giant Zara, is reported to be worth $61.3billion, according to Forbes' billionaire rich-list.
The Manchester Evening News have detailed that Ortega has 'already spoken to Old Trafford executives' to declare his interest in buying United, but the amount he is willing to pay for it remains undisclosed.
Ortega, who has three children, owns 59 per cent of the Inditex clothing empire, which he started in 1975, and last year appointed his daughter, Maria Ortega Perez, as chairwoman of Zara.
Ortega, who has three children, Marta, Sandra and Marcos, would represent a shift from the Glazer family, who have owned Manchester United since 2005.
Neither Apple, nor Ortega, would hold any emotional ties to the club, something that wouldn't apply if Sir Jim Ratcliffe, UK billionaire and lifelong Manchester United fan, took over at Old Trafford.
Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and Spanish fashion billionaire Amancio Ortega (right)