Who are the Glazer family and what is their net worth? Manchester United shares suffer worst day

Avram Glazer watches on as his team Manchester United play  (Getty Images)
Avram Glazer watches on as his team Manchester United play (Getty Images)

Manchester United’s share price has suffered its worst day ever after an 18.22 per cent fall. It follows weekend reports the Glazer family were going to take the club off the market.

The share price closed at $23.66 on Friday and dropped to as low as $18.83 on Tuesday, closing at $19.35.

This is the biggest sell-off since United went public in 2012 with the previous record drop of 13.8 per cent on March 12, 2020.

The two bidders, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, are still interested; however, the Mail on Sunday reported that the Glazers are planning to take Man Utd off the market. They then plan to put the club back up for sale in 2025, hoping for a valuation of £7bn-£10bn.

However, reporting by the Daily Mail, claimed that “nothing had changed” and a decision has yet to be made by the Glazers.

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani’s latest offer is £5 billion. However, the Glazer family would prefer the British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe to take over.

It was previously reported in the Sun that Sir Jim, the chemicals magnate, was first choice, having been engaged in a five-month-long bidding war for ownership of the club he has supported since he was a boy.

The Glazers put Britain’s biggest football club up for sale last November. Nearly 200 days later, Old Trafford insiders told the Sun that the Glazers would prefer to sell majority control to Ratcliffe’s Ineos Sport rather than selling the whole club to Sheikh Jassim.

Despite recent on-pitch troubles at Old Trafford (the club had not won a trophy for six years until its Carabao Cup success in February 2023), the Red Devils still rank among the most popular and marketable football teams in the world. They have won the English top-flight title a record 20 times and the European Cup three times, among a host of other trophies.

But who are the Glazers and why are they selling United?

Who are the Glazer family?

The Glazers have not been popular owners of Manchester United (Reuter)
The Glazers have not been popular owners of Manchester United (Reuter)

Malcolm Glazer was a businessman and owner of a sports franchise in America, who died in 2014.

Born in New York, he started out at his father's watch parts company aged eight. When he was 15, his father died and he sold watches door-to-door to support his family.

Glazer went on to own not only United but also the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the president and chief executive of First Allied Corporation, a holding company for his multiple business endeavours.

United is currently owned by his six children. The Glazers bought the club for £790 million in 2005 in a highly leveraged deal that has been criticised for loading debt on to the club.

They sold 10 per cent of their holding via the 2012 US listing and have sold more shares since but retain majority ownership. United’s valuation as a public company peaked at $4.3bn (£3.4bn) in 2018.

Avram and Joel Glazer watch a training session (Getty Images)
Avram and Joel Glazer watch a training session (Getty Images)

What is their net worth?

Forbes has estimated the family’s worth at £4.7 billion.

What does the Glazer family own?

Glazer’s six children, Avram, Bryan, Darcie, Edward, Joel and Kevin own United after he acquired the bulk of the club’s shares through the investment firm Red Football Ltd in 2005.

The six Glazer children each received an equal share of their father’s 90 per cent controlling stake after he died of a protracted illness.

Since their late father's stroke in April 2006, Joel and Avram have been in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club. They are co-chairmen and Bryan, Darcie, Edward and Kevin serve as directors.

Avram Glazer offered shares worth £70 million for sale in March 2021.

Why does the family want to sell Manchester United?

The Glazers are selling United because of debt. The club was debt-free when the Glazers took ownership in 2005. However, the purchase agreement recommended by former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is said to have added more than £500 million in debt to the company.

To the dismay of fans, Malcolm Glazer used a leveraged buyout scheme to finance a large portion of the takeover rather than using his own funds.

This entails borrowing funds against a future asset to purchase that item; in this example, interest payments total more than £60 million annually.

It has been widely claimed that the buyout has cost the club more than £1 billion in interest and other expenses over the years.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the club's debt had increased by 133 per cent to £474 million by the end of 2020.

Since 2015, the club has paid an annual dividend, most of which goes to the Glazers, and the company's tax registration was transferred from Old Trafford to the Cayman Islands in 2012.

The club's 2018–19 financial statements included dividends totalling £23 million. The six Glazer siblings apparently shared about £18 million of this.

Club income has more than doubled since 2005 and United was ranked the third-most-valuable football club in the world by Forbes last May. This was largely due to the significant and diversified commercial partnerships inked under the Glazers.

The club was fourth in the 2023 Deloitte Football Money League, an annual profile of the highest revenue-generating clubs in world football, behind Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City.