MANCHESTER: Prospective Manchester United owner Jim Ratcliffe says he will not pay a "stupid" price for the Premier League giants, with more bidders expected to enter the race to take over at Old Trafford.
The British billionaire is one of two interested parties to have publicly announced their bids to Raine, the merchant bank brought in to assist the club in assessing offers.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani is the other.
United´s unpopular owners, the Glazer family, announced in November they were conducting a strategic review, with the sale of the club one option being considered.
The Americans´ asking price is believed to be $6 billion.
Ratcliffe, chairman of chemicals giant INEOS, and his team held talks with the club on Friday during a visit to Old Trafford and the Carrington training complex, a day after Sheikh Jassim´s representatives visited United.
But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the 70-year-old Ratcliffe said he would not pay over the odds for the 20-time English champions.
"How do you decide the price of a painting?" he said. "How do you decide the price of a house? It´s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint.
"What you don´t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently."
Ratcliffe, who already owns French club Nice, said his interest in United would be "purely in winning things", calling the club a "community asset", rather than a financial one.
Sky News said Tuesday that Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe were understood to be preparing second bids before a Wednesday deadline for second offers, adding that a number of other parties could enter the bidding process.
Elliott Investment Management has also reportedly made it through to the second stage of the process, although the firm is believed to be offering funding rather than a takeover.
The Glazers, who completed a leveraged takeover of the club in 2005, have proved deeply unpopular with supporters due to the team´s declining fortunes on the pitch in recent years.
Their purchase of United also saddled the club with huge debts and they have long been accused of taking more out financially than they have invested in terms of transfer funds.
The Glazers further angered United fans by backing the failed European Super League project in April 2021 which would have led to the club joining a breakaway competition.