Manchester United: Six of the most expensive sporting takeovers

World’s biggest sporting takeovers: Six of the best

The takeover process at Manchester United has hit another milestone with Sir Jim Ratcliffe submitting an improved bid to buy the club.

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has yet to up his original bid, but the ownership battle has been complicated by the introduction of a third party joining the fight.

Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus made an offer based on the current market value of £3.17bn and wants to buy United in a 50-50 partnership with their fans, who will have a say in the decision-making process at the Premier League club.

A figure of around £5billion has been quoted for the first two offers – short of the reported £6billion valuation made by the current owners, the Glazer family, but a prospective world record for purchasing a sports team.

Here, Ladbrokes look at the world’s most expensive sporting takeovers.

Denver Broncos

NFL side the Denver Broncos were bought by the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group last summer for 4.65billion US dollars (approximately £3.8billion).

Welcome to #BroncosCountry.

Now it's time to work. 😤

— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) March 18, 2023

The new ownership team was led by Rob Walton, the heir to the fortune of Walmart, the US retailing giant. Lewis Hamilton and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are also part of the group.


The current Premier League record is held by the Todd Boehly-led consortium that took over Chelsea last year after former owner Roman Abramovich’s assets were frozen because of his links to Vladimir Putin.

Todd Boehly

The total investment of £4.25billion, comprising buyout and money ploughed into the club, is a global record. American billionaire Boehly also holds stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers and LA Lakers.

Brooklyn Nets

Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire Joseph Tsai, co-founder of technology company Alibaba, bought a controlling stake in NBA franchise the Brooklyn Nets as well as their Barclays Center home in 2019. The financial details were kept private but Bloomberg reported the investment to be 3.5billion US dollars (approximately £2.85billion).

Carolina Panthers

American hedge fund manager David Tepper bought the NFL franchise the Carolina Panthers in May 2018 for nearly 2.3billion dollars (approximately £1.85billion). Tepper was formerly a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Houston Rockets

Houston restaurant billionaire Tilman Fertitta purchased NBA side the Rockets in 2017 for 2.2billion US dollars (approximately £1.8billion) – a then record for a US sports team.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Boehly was heavily involved in another of the biggest sporting takeovers – the 2012 purchase of the LA Dodgers baseball team by Guggenheim Baseball Management. The group, including Boehly and former basketball player Magic Johnson, paid 2.15billion US dollars (approximately £1.75billion) and have overseen a transformation that led to the Dodgers winning the World Series in 2020.