American billionaire investor Leon Cooperman has acquired a stake in Manchester United shortly before the anticipated approval of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25% takeover of the club.
The 80-year-old, founder of New York-based Omega Advisors, purchased one million shares in the Red Devils, valued at approximately $16.8 million (£13.4m), according to recent filings.
Cooperman, with an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion (£2.08bn), made this move amid reports of INEOS owner Ratcliffe nearing a deal to invest in the football club.
Last month, a Qatari group led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad J.J. Al Thani withdrew its offer to buy Manchester United, paving the way for British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe to eventually gain control of the storied football club.
Once a deal is completed, the 71-year-old is expected to take full control of the footballing operations at Old Trafford. He will now also likely work in tandemn with Cooperman after his own deal.
The British billionaire has a sporting empire that encompasses cycling, rugby, and sailing along with two football teams French side Nice and Swiss outfit Lausanne-Sport, while he also owns a third of F1 team Mercedes.
After the news of Cooperman’s investment, United’s share price on the New York stock exchange rose around 2.3 per cent to $18.60, the highest it has been since November 3, with the price having been highly volatile throughout the takeover process.
Filings on the stock exchange from earlier this year have also shown a number of hedge funds have acquired small stakes in the club, including Psquared Asset Management AG and Antara Capital.
Meanwhile, Eminence Capital, another hedge fund, is currently the third-largest shareholder in the club, according to Bloomberg.