Man Utd takeover saga 15/11/23: US Billionaire Leon Cooperman ‘buys stake’ as CEO Richard Arnold leaves role ahead of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s imminent coup
Whilst Sir Jim Ratcliffe is completing his deal to buy a 25 percent interest in Manchester United, US billionaire and hedge fund entrepreneur Leon Cooperman has secured his own stake in the club.
Cooperman, who turned 80 this year, has purchased one million shares in the Red Devils valued at around $16.8 million (£13.4m). The founder of New York-based Omega Advisors is thought to have a net worth of $2.6 billion (£2.08bn).
However, this is not expected to hamper Ratcliffe’s quest to invest in the club with negotiations ongoing for him to buy a significant stake at Old Trafford with an announcement expected to be made soon.
As reported by the British newspaper The Daily Mirror, the deal will also see the UK’s second-richest man take full control of the club’s operations, a move that has led to current CEO Richard Arnold leaving the club and Patrick Stewart becoming the interim CEO.
Arnold, who has been at United since 2007, replaced former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in the top job in February 2022, having previously been the club’s managing director.
In a statement, United’s executive co-chairman Joel Glazer confirmed Arnold’s departure by saying, “I would like to thank Richard for his outstanding service to Manchester United over the past 16 years, and wish him all the best for his future endeavours.”
The statement has also confirmed Stewart’s appointment on an interim basis, “We are fortunate to be able to call on the deep knowledge and experience of Patrick Stewart to provide interim stability and continuity as we embark on a search for a new permanent CEO.”
Arnold’s reign as CEO was largely engulfed by the takeover saga that began in November last year and raged on until recently when Qatari-based businessman Sheikh Jassim pulled out of the race leaving INEOS owner Ratcliffe free to complete his takeover proposal.
Sources insist that during his reign, Arnold succeeded in modernising the structure of the club’s football operations, despite manager Erik Ten Hag guiding the Red Devils to their worst start to a season in 37 years.
Ratcliffe, however, wants to overhaul United’s current setup, privately criticising their manager selection and transfer dealings since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
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Mirror Football understands that United’s Football Director, John Murtough, is also vulnerable after two-and-a-half years in his role.
Ratcliffe plans to bring in his own team to revamp the club’s recruitment strategy and the way in which their entire football operation is run.