English soccer club Manchester United is launching a process to search for strategic alternatives, including a new investment or potential sale, 17 years after the purchase by the American Glazer family.
The Glazer family is working with financial advisors on the process, which could result in a partial sale of the Old Trafford Club or investments such as refurbishing stadiums and infrastructure, the club said in a statement.
Manchester United fans have been calling for a change of ownership, and the Glazers have been heavily criticized as the team hasn’t won a cup in five years.
The last silverware they won was the Europa League and League Cup in 2017.
“As we try to continue building on the club’s success story, the board has approved a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives,” Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, executive co-chairmen and directors of United, said in the statement on Tuesday.
“We will review all options to ensure we serve our fans in the best possible way and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the club today and in the future.”
There was also unrest in the club after Cristiano Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by the club and expressed his unhappiness about how things were being run.
On Tuesday, the club announced that the Portuguese captain would leave Manchester United by mutual agreement.
In August, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe had expressed interest in buying United, the news agency Reuters reported. At the time, Elon Musk had also joked about buying the club.
Wealthy Asian tycoons, particularly those from China, have bought European teams in recent years, including Wolverhampton Wanderers from the Premier League and Inter Milan from Italy.
Owners are under pressure as United are in fifth place in the Premier League midway through the season.
Manchester United shares rose by up to 20 percent after Sky News reported on the sale process for the first time, giving the club a market capitalization of $2.6 billion.
The company was worth $2.5 billion at the close of trade in the US on Tuesday. At its peak as a public company, the company had a market capitalization of 4.3 billion USD in 2018.