By Sammy Mngqosini, CNN
British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe expressed interest in buying Manchester United on Tuesday — if the club is for sale.
In an email to CNN Sport, a spokesman for Ratcliffe confirmed his interest in the renowned Premier League club, saying: “We are simply confirming interest in the club if it is for sale.”
According to Forbes, Manchester United is worth $4.6 billion. Controlled by the Glazer family, which also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Manchester United is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world, but it hasn’t won the English Premier League since 2013.
Ratcliffe’s interest comes after a Bloomberg report, citing unidentified sources, that the Glazer family is open to selling a minority stake in the Premier League club to a US investment firm.
Rumors that the club was for sale emerged on Tuesday after Elon Musk tweeted he was buying the club before later clarifying that his statement was part of a long-running joke and he wasn’t buying any sports team.
CNN has reached out the Glazer family and Manchester United and has not received confirmation that the club is for sale.
Ratcliffe is a majority shareholder of chemical group INEOS which owns French side Nice, Swiss club Lausanne-Sport, the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team and has a partnership with the Mercedes F1 team.
In May, Ratcliffe made a last-minute bid to buy Chelsea FC before losing out to the Todd Boehly consortium.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust has released a statement addressing the rumors about a potential change of ownership saying, “Speculation is mounting about a potential change of ownership or new investors at the Manchester United.
“While supporters have called for a change, of course this has to be right change. Any prospective owner or investor has to be committed to the culture, ethos and the best traditions of the club.
“They have to be willing to invest to restore United to former glories, and that investment must be real new money spent on the playing side and the stadium.”
Manchester United have struggled for form since the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 and currently sits at the bottom of the Premier League having lost both of its matches in the current season.
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CNN’s Diksha Madhok contributed reporting.