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When they go for football, they really go for football…

When they go for football, they really go for football…

News reports are emerging from the UK that Qatar Holding are poised to buy Manchester United Football Club, if they can persuade the owners to sell.

December 22, 2010 4:44 by

You might ask why, given the money already committed to the World Cup bid and preparations and the Barcelona deal, Qatar is contemplating yet another massive football related outlay. There are two answers. For the first, simply ask the Glazers – five years ago they bought the club with borrowed money for £790 million. Now, Qatar Holding is reportedly prepared to pay up to £1.5 billion – that represents one heck of a profit for the Americans, simply for holding on to the club and managing the debt repayments.

So firstly, it probably looks to Qatar like this would be a safe investment. Yet there is the second reason: it also has the added appeal of being a marquee purchase – a historic, global sporting brand, recognized the world over – and there are no doubts that if Qatar wanted to buy it, even at a loss, they could and we think would. We’ve written before about the lure of vanity purchases to Gulf investors. They just can’t keep their hands off those shiny baubles.

Qatar probably calculates that it can make money from this deal, but once again it will mean billions spent in a foreign country, instead of invested at home. The trouble is, we can hardly accuse Qatar of not investing at home (with $100 billion earmarked for the World Cup). Perhaps it’s time for Kipp to just hold up its hands and concede that if you have more money than you know what to do with, you may as well buy what you want. And if they fancy getting us a little something too, we won’t complain.

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