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Manchester United shares climb on speculations over takeover bid

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(Reuters) -Manchester United’s shares were up 15% in premarket trading on Tuesday after a report hinted that Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani was likely to succeed with his takeover bid for the English football club.

Qatar’s Al-Watan newspaper reported on Tuesday evening that Sheikh Jassim, son of a former prime minister of the country, was poised to be announced as the preferred bidder of the Premier League soccer club, CNBC said.

Reuters could not immediately verify the Qatari media report. Manchester United declined a Reuters request for comment.

UK’s Daily Mail said last week that Sheikh Jassim had made a “fifth and final” offer of more than 5 billion pounds ($6.28 billion) after British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS reportedly outbid him in April.

New York-listed shares of Manchester United were up at $23.07, paring almost half their premarket gains on Tuesday. The stock has risen 53% since the club’s owners, the American Glazer family, said in November they were considering selling the club.

No deal has been reached yet, days after Sheikh Jassim’s “deadline” last week, after which he said he will not enter any further negotiations.

The Glazer family is reportedly seeking 6 billion pounds ($7.5 billion), which would be a world record for any sports club or franchise, but neither bid is that high.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Aditya Soni; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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