Who is Sheikh Jassim? Net worth, family of Qatari banker bidding to win takeover race at Man United

Widespread reports on October 14 said that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani had withdrawn from the bidding process for Manchester United.

Transfer news expert Fabrizio Romano claimed that the final bid had been worth almost double the $3.5 billion market valuation of the club, and said the Sheikh had planned an extra $1.5bn of investment. Sky Sports News was among the outlets to announce that they also understood the offer had been withdrawn.

The protracted takeover process has rumbled on in the background at United ever since the Glazers announced last November that they were seeking new investment in the club they took over in 2005, either in the form of a minority stake or a full sale.

There appeared to be two most likely outcomes: the American family reject offers to sell the club, but potentially sell some shares; or, they accept an offer from one of the frontrunners to take over outright at Old Trafford. Those frontrunners had been Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, with the former set to complete a $1.6bn deal for a 25% share of the club according to Mail Online.

As a more prominent public figure, plenty is known already about Oldham-born Ratcliffe, the billionaire CEO of petrochemical giant INEOS who was named by Forbes as the 67th richest person in the world in 2023.

Sheikh Jassim, however, is a much less famous figure.

MORE: Man United’s all-time trophy record

Who is Sheikh Jassim?

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani is a member of the Qatari royal family and the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), the largest bank in Qatar.

Sheikh Jassim grew up alongside the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. They both went to boarding school in the UK before attending Sandhurst, an esteemed military academy in England. Sheikh Jassim graduated as an officer cadet, according to the limited information published by the company overseeing his bid to buy Manchester United.

In his adult years, Sheikh Jassim has enjoyed much success in his role at QIB and is of course part of influential circles in Qatar. Beyond these details, little is known about his professional or private life — even his age is not easy to verify. We know that, according to Companies House — the government agency responsible for registering companies in the country — Sheikh Jassim is 41, but the precise date he was born in April 1982 is not listed.

His father, however, is a different story.

Who is Sheikh Jassim’s father?

Sheikh Jassim is one of 15 children of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Mohammed bin Thani Al Thani, often known by his initials HBJ. The younger brother of Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the founder of modern Qatar, HBJ has served as Prime Minister and foreign minister for the Gulf state. He is also formerly the chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which has direct links to Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) — the entity that bought Paris Saint-Germain in 2011 — and QIB.

Considered by many to be one of the most powerful men in modern Qatar, HBJ is also a familiar face in elite circles in England. He helped to drive much of Qatar’s expansionist investment strategy, which included buying famous London department store Harrods in 2010. HBJ is also said to have made sizeable cash donations in person to King Charles III, which were ruled to be legal charity contributions.

Is Sheikh Jassim a Man United fan?

Sheikh Jassim has been described as a Man United fan, but this, again, is not easy to verify.

It is said he has been a supporter of the club since childhood, attending several matches and even playing recreational five-a-side in a United shirt. His bid certainly appeals to United’s heritage: he established the Nine Two Foundation to push through his takeover attempt, an entity named in honour of the club’s famous ‘Class of 92’ — a group of academy graduates that included David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, which drove an era of great success. Nine Two UK Holdings Limited was officially registered as a UK company on June 15, with Sheikh Jassim listed as a director.

There is a photo of Sheikh Jassim in a United shirt, but its authenticity has been questioned.

MORE: When do the fixtures come out for Premier League 2023/24 season?

What is Sheikh Jassim’s net worth?

Again, this is not an easy question to answer.

According to Forbes, his father is worth $1.2 billion, but the collective wealth of the family is somewhere closer to $275bn. Sheikh Jassim’s personal wealth is estimated to be around $1.5bn. QIB, the bank he chairs, reported more than $620 million in net income for the first quarter of 2023.

How much did Sheikh Jassim bid for Man United?

According to reports, Sheikh Jassim launched a final bid for Man United on June 7. It’s believed this was issued to the Glazers as a take-it-or-leave-it offer of more than $7.5bn. He said he would not be prepared to negotiate further beyond June 9, although his bid would not be withdrawn at that time.

Sheikh Jassim has always been clear that his offer is to buy 100 per cent of the club, whereas the bid from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS was for a majority stake of around 69 per cent before being dialled back to the current quarter-share offer.

The apparently final withdrawal on October 14 came after an offer of almost double United’s $3.5bn valuation on the New York Stock Exchange, along with an additional $1.5bn apparently ringfenced for improving the team and footballing infrastructure at Old Trafford.

Sheikh Jassim vowed to clear the club’s enormous debt — which passed £1bn for the first time in September — while providing “significant” further cash to improve the men’s and women’s training facilities, invest in the local community, and develop or rebuild Old Trafford.

These pledges, coupled with the prospect of strengthened financial might in the transfer market, made the Qatari bid more popular among a number of United supporters.

Sheikh Jassim issued a statement when his takeover interest was first confirmed in February, which read: “The bid plans to return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch, and — above all — will seek to place the fans at the heart of Manchester United Football Club once more.

“The bid will be completely debt-free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training centre, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the club supports.

“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world.”

Premier League 2023/24 TV channels, live streams

MORE: Watch every Premier League match in Canada on Fubo

Region TV Streaming
Australia Optus Sport
Canada

Fubo Canada

Hong Kong Now TV
India Star Sports Disney+, Hotstar,
JioTV
Malaysia Astro SuperSport Astro Go
New Zealand Sky Sport Sky Sport Now,
Sky Go
Singapore StarHub StarHub TV+
UK Sky Sports, TNT Sports NOW TV, Sky Go,
Amazon Prime
USA USA Network,
Telemundo, Universo
Fubo, Peacock

UK: Matches are carried across Sky Sports and TNT Sports streaming and TV platforms, with select matches on Amazon Prime.

USA: Select matches are televised on USA Network (English) and Telemundo or Universo (Spanish), and all three channels can be streamed on Fubo. The rest of the matches are streamed on NBC platform Peacock for subscribers.

Canada: Every Premier League game this season is live streaming exclusively via Fubo in Canada.

Australia: Fans in Australia can stream every match live and on demand on Optus Sport.

India: Star Sports network has the rights to show Premier League matches in India. As well as an English broadcast on Star Sports Select, select matches will be available via regional feeds on Star Sports 3 (in Bengali, English, Kannada, Malayalam), Star Sports 1 (Bangla) and Star Sports 1 (Tamil).

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