Shares of Premier League club Manchester United spiked dramatically on Thursday ahead of the deadline for takeover proposals and amid reports of interest from Saudi Arabia.
Friday has been billed as a soft deadline before the selling process picks up speed.
Potential purchasers are anticipated to submit their opening offers to merchant bank Raine Group on Friday.
Raine Group is handling the sale for United’s existing owners, the Glazer family. The stock finished at $26.84 on the New York Stock Exchange, up nearly 10%.
Reports of a move from Saudi Arabia could increase the likelihood that the sale price reaches the predicted $6 billion mark, with an offer also anticipated from Qatar.
The only bidder to officially declare his intention to bid is British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who is also the owner of the petrochemicals giant INEOS. However, in recent days, there has been growing speculation about broader interest.
The Telegraph reported on Thursday that Saudi Arabian organisations are considering placing bids.
It has been said that Friday will serve as a soft deadline before the sale process picks up speed.
On Nov. 21, the Glazers, who also own the NFL team Tampa Bay Buccaneers, declared their plan to look for outside finance. Since then, United’s share price, which was $13.08 on the day of the announcement, has more than doubled.
Recent reports follow an anticipated bid from another Middle Eastern nation, Qatar, and confirm long-rumoured Saudi interest.
After a slew of American bidders entered the contest to purchase Chelsea last year, there may also be interest from the United States.
Since purchasing the team in 2005, the Glazers have regularly fought attempts by United supporters to kick them out.
Both a full sale and a partial investment have been considered as options.
It is unknown if any prospective buyers are willing to pay the extra amount of money necessary to reconstruct Old Trafford stadium, which is usually estimated to be $6 billion.
Raine was in charge of selling Chelsea, which Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital purchased for $3 billion, a record price for a soccer franchise.