Manchester United shares jumped on Tuesday after Qatari media suggested that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani was likely to succeed in his takeover bid.
CNBC was unable to verify the reports and a Manchester United spokesman declined to comment. The Athletic, a sports media outlet owned by The New York Times, said it appeared in Qatari media caught on the rumor from a Twitter account in Wales with about 300 followers.
Qatari newspaper Al-Watan reported on Tuesday evening that Sheikh Jassim, the son of the country’s former prime minister, is set to be announced as the Premier League football club’s preferred bidder. Al-Watan is co-owned by Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani.
Shares in Manchester United, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, were about 11% higher on Tuesday afternoon after rising as much as 30% in pre-market trading.
The news came later seven months of negotiationsis also in talks with British petrochemical billionaire Jim Ratcliffe to buy the club.
Al-Watan newspaper’s social media account said: “The success of the acquisition of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim” will be announced soon.
Fahad al-Emadi, editor of Al Watan daily, shared a similar message.
“All reports received indicate the success of Manchester United’s acquisition of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim and the announcement of the deal will be very soon,” he said.
Zaid Al-Hamdan, chairman of Doha-based political consultancy Aramsite Group, congratulated Sheikh Jassim shortly after, despite the absence of an official announcement.
“Congratulations to Shaikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim on the acquisition of @ManUtd,” Al-Hamdan said on Twitter.
The Glazer family, American owners of Manchester United, he announced formal sale process late last year, said in a statement on Nov. 22 that the company’s board would begin exploring “strategic alternatives” for the club.
Sheikh Jassim on June 7 was reported submitted an improved fifth and final bid of approximately $6.3 billion for full control of Manchester United. Ratcliffe, meanwhile, was he said wanted to buy about 60% of the club.