The Ineos chairman, whose wealth in 2020 was estimated at $28.2billion, is a lifelong United supporter from Greater Manchester.
The petrochemicals billionaire is the owner of Nice, Swiss team FC Lausanne-Sport and the Tour de France-winning cycling team Ineos Grenadiers, which he took over from Team Sky, and submitted a £4.25billion bid for Chelsea before Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital sealed their takeover.
The Glazers have owned United since 2005 but announced in November that they were considering a sale when they said they were “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives”.
And a spokesperson for Ratcliffe told The Times: “We have formally put ourselves into the process.”
United are also expected to attract interest from the Middle East, while the price paid for Chelsea could mean they command a record price.
Ratcliffe, who turned down the chance to bid for Liverpool, wants to acquire United for under £5billion while the Glazers are thought to value the club at £6billion.
The Raine Group, who conducted the sale of Chelsea, are in charge of the Glazers’ search for investment or a buyer.
United had a turnover of £583.2 million for the 2021-22 season but still made a net loss of £115.5 million, while their debt was over £500 million.
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