American billionaire investor Leon Cooperman has sensationally secured a stake in Manchester United from the much-maligned Glazers amid news Sir Jim Ratcliffe is completing his own deal for a share in the Premier League club. Cooperman is a former hedge fund manager who has seemingly entered the takeover race out of nowhere after months of speculation surrounding a potential sale of the club.
On Tuesday, news broke from Bloomberg claiming Cooperman has purchased one million shares in the Red Devils valued at around £13.4m, according to a recent filing. The founder of New York-based Omega Advisors, the 80-year-old is believed to have a net worth of £2.08 billion.
The son of Polish immigrants, Cooperman was born in the Bronx, a borough in New York. He became the first member of his family to earn a college degree and spent over two decades at Goldman Sachs, enjoying several senior roles including chairman of the Stock Selection Committee and chief executive officer of Asset Management.
Cooperman left the company in the 1990s having built a fabled reputation for himself on Wall Street. He established private investment partnership Omega Advisers before his 2016 retirement.
Cooperman has been outspoken on his views surrounding both finance and politics. He recently claimed that he doesn’t consider someone earning £320,000 annually to be rich, while he has also primarily donated to Republican political campaigns.
He has also put his name to a number of charitable causes throughout his career. Among other donations, he put £20 million towards Columbia Business School while he has also regularly donated to the Saint Barnabas Medical Center; since 2014, the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation has pledged around £100m. Cooperman also serves as a board member for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.
Cooperman’s investment is incredibly minor and is unlikely to earn him any sway in the boardroom. His investent comes amid reports that when the Glazers put United on the market, interested parties from the United States – including private equity firms – could be an option.
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Cooperman’s investment also comes amid speculation INEOS owner Ratcliffe was closing in on a deal to invest in the club after he beat out Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani. He was interested in completing a full takeover of the Red Devils from the Glazers.
After Sheikh Jassim pulled out, Ratcliffe was free to complete a deal. Negotiations are ongoing for him to buy 25 percent of the club and an announcement out of Old Trafford is expected soon.
Once a deal is completed, Ratcliffe is expected to take full control of the footballing operations at Old Trafford. He will also likely work alongside Cooperman following the American’s sudden deal.
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