American billionaire Malcolm Glazer has said he has acquired enough shares in Manchester United to force remaining investors to sell their stock to him.
Remaining shareholders can now be forced to sell
A statement from his Red Football bidding vehicle said he now owned 98% of the Old Trafford club.
This takes him past the 97.6% level needed to force a compulsory buyout of remaining shareholders.
But Mr Glazer, who took over United in a £790m buyout, is keeping open his £3 a share offer to investors for now.
"Red owns or has received valid acceptances of the offer in respect of a total of 259,950,194 Manchester United Shares, representing approximately 98.0% of the issued share capital of Manchester United," Mr Glazer's representatives told the London Stock Exchange.
Sons on board
Many Manchester United fans have been unhappy at his takeover and supporters' group Shareholders United is raising cash in the hope of buying a stake in the club should the Glazer family sell-up in future.
TIMELINE OF A TAKEOVER
March 2003 - Glazer buys 2.9% stake in club
March 2004 - Glazer says he has "no current intention" of making a bid
June 2004 - Glazer's stake in club nears 20%
October 2004 - United confirms bid approach from Glazer, as his stake nears 30%
November 2004 - Glazer ousts three directors from United's board
December 2004 -Glazer makes revised bid
February 2005 - He makes new bid approach, valuing United at £800m, the club later opens its books to the tycoon
14 April 2005 - Glazer moots £800m bid for club
28 April 2005 - Takeover Panel sets 17 May deadline for Glazer to announce whether he intends to buy United
12 May 2005 - Glazer launches formal takeover bid for United after upping his stake in the club to almost 57%
23 May 2005 - Glazer says he owns 76.21% of the club.
26 May 2005 - Board advises shareholders to accept bid
28 June 2005 - Glazer secures 98% of shares - and total control of the club
Meanwhile, Mr Glazer is keeping his share offer open to the remaining 2% of shareholders who have not sold up.
However, there has been no indication yet that Mr Glazer - who has already installed his sons Joel, Bryan, and Avi to the United board - is ready yet to force the issue and legally demand the remaining shareholders sell to him.
Red Football said in a statement on Tuesday: "The offer will remain open for acceptance until further notice."
Last week, shares in Manchester United were delisted from the London Stock Exchange after 14 years on the market.
Earlier this month, Shareholders United said it was only a "matter of weeks" before Mr Glazer had full control, but said it did not see him staying at the club for more than four years.
The fans are working on a "phoenix fund" - a financial investment fund which will pay interest - in order to accumulate cash to buy part of United if it is ever put up for sale.
Supporters say they already have £2m pledged, and have also launched their own line of "Real United" souvenirs to try to deprive Mr Glazer of money from club merchandising sales.
They believe that Mr Glazer's funding strategy to buy United, which involves a number of large loans, is bad for the previously debt-free club.
Mr Glazer, via his Red Football bid vehicle, has borrowed £265m - secured against Man Utd's assets - and has a further £275m in other loans.
Reports have said that his plans for the club involve raising revenues by 52% to £245.6 m by 2010 from £161.5m this year.