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Manchester United shares pop 20% on speculations over takeover bid

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(Reuters) – Manchester United’s shares jumped nearly 20% 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, nor did Manchester United respond to 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 have slumped nearly 14% this year.

The latest “deadline” to finalize Sheikh Jassim’s offer ended on Friday, but no official announcements were made.

The current owners, the American Glazer family, are 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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