Prospective Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has climbed to second place on The Sunday Times Rich List with a staggering jump in his wealth.
The Manchester-born INEOS chairman has seen his net worth jump from £6.075billion to £29.688bn over the past year.
The Sunday Times cites Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and skyrocketing energy prices as the main driver for Ratcliffe’s jump in wealth, as he was on hand with ‘a fleet of 20 ocean-going tankers to shuttle shale gas from the US’.
talkSPORT understands that the 70-year-old is set to open formal talks with Manchester United owners the Glazer family, as he looks to edge out rival bidder Sheikh Jassim bin Al Thani.
With a £6bn offer and the key caveat that the Glazers will retain some shares, Ratcliffe looks to be in pole position to purchase his boyhood club.
Described as a ‘self-made billionaire, part-time mountaineer and beekeeper’ by The Sunday Times, Ratcliffe has restored a number of petrochemical plants to become the biggest private energy operator in the North Sea.
The Failsworth-born businessman already has a number of sporting investments with football teams OGC Nice in France and FC Lausanne in Switzerland, while he also owns the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team and an America’s Cup sailing squad.
Discussing Ratcliffe’s potential takeover of United, The Sunday Times add: “He’s up against stiff competition from other plutocrats and potentates, but reckons he’s in with a fighting chance.”
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The outlet also lets Red Devils fans into their potential club owner’s background which includes a gruelling fitness regime helping him compete in marathons well into his 60s, while he’s believed to be the only billionaire to make it to the north and south poles.
Ratcliffe also addressed the biggest criticism he’s received to date, moving to tax haven Monaco in 2018 two years after being knighted.
It’s estimated that the move cost the British treasury £4bn-a-year in tax payments, but Ratcliffe is keen to point out that he continued to employ thousands in the UK who contribute millions to the British Exchequer.