Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad J.J. Al Thani, the third son of Qatar’s former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, made headlines when he announced his multi-billion-pound bid for Manchester United.
While he had no Wikipedia entry prior to the announcement, he has become the face of what some see as the leading bid for the football club.
Sheikh Jassim has hired Bank of America Corp. as one of the advisers for his bid, and he is backed by almost unlimited wealth.
Sheikh Jassim’s offer for Manchester United, which is currently owned by the Glazer family, could value the club at about £5 billion ($6 billion), surpassing the record price paid for the Denver Broncos NFL team.
Sheikh Jassim has been involved in various business enterprises with close ties to the government and has held positions on the boards of some of the largest Qatari companies, including Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar Navigation.
If Sheikh Jassim succeeds in his bid, he will have to navigate his family’s deal with the Glazer family, who have been considering their investment in the club since last year.
The Glazer family purchased Manchester United in a 2005 leveraged buyout, which saddled the club with massive debts, and they have faced distrust from hardcore supporters ever since.
Sheikh Jassim will also have to convince UEFA that the source of his wealth is not linked to Paris St. Germain, currently owned by Qatar Sports Investments.
While Sheikh Jassim’s bid for Manchester United has made headlines, he will face rivals wherever he turns, including Manchester City and Newcastle United, who are currently undergoing a renaissance funded by the Saudi wealth fund.