ManU bidder courts Irish duo

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The Independent Online

Malcolm Glazer, the US tycoon, will this week approach the Irish investors who own 28.9 per cent of Manchester United to try to force the club to back his £800m bid.

Malcolm Glazer, the US tycoon, will this week approach the Irish investors who own 28.9 per cent of Manchester United to try to force the club to back his £800m bid.

The Man Utd board has yet to made any official statement about the offer, which is priced at 300p a share compared with a close of 270.5p on Friday.

It is understood that some directors strongly oppose selling out to Mr Glazer, claiming his bid involves too much debt. However, others argue that the cash offer is significantly higher than Man Utd's market valuation and so they have to recommend it.

Mr Glazer, who owns 28.1 per cent of Man Utd's shares, needs the support of Cubic Expression if his bid is going to succeed.

Cubic, which is the vehicle of Irish racehorse owners JP McManus and John Magnier, has so far said it would not entertain any offer unless it had the board's recommendation.

This position is understood to have softened. Mr Glazer's merchant bank, NM Rothschild, has yet to approach Cubic but talks may begin this week.

However, it is believed that Cubic does not think the 300p- a-share offer is particularly attractive. The Irish duo, who describe themselves as "long- term investors", are hoping to persuade Mr Glazer to raise his bid to at least 310p a share.

If Cubic backs Mr Glazer's offer, he will gain control of Man Utd whether or not the board accepts the bid.

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