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Wednesday, September 9, 1998 Published at 06:41 GMT 07:41 UK


Countdown to the deal

Manager Alex Ferguson lifts the Premiership trophy

Days of intrigue and speculation have culminated in Manchester United accepting an offer of £625m for the club from Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB.

From the first whisperings, to the done deal, the rundown of events went like this:

  • News of a possible deal emerges last weekend when the Sunday Telegraph reports that Mr Murdoch has agreed a £575m deal with the club's chief executive, Martin Edwards.

  • The newspaper says talks began several months ago.

  • BSkyB bosses dismiss the report as speculation - but later in the day confirm they are in negotiations to buy United.

  • Sports Minister Tony Banks immediately raises doubts, saying the deal could merit an inquiry by anti-monopoly watchdogs.

  • Shares in the club soar from 159p to 214p on Monday morning. More than £123m is added to United's stock market value with confirmation that talks are under way.

  • Mr Edwards, who owns 14% of the shares, refuses to comment when he arrives in London for a meeting on Monday afternoon.

      Discussions into early hours

      • Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson promises that any formal bid would go to the Director General of Fair Trading and be examined "very completely and extremely searchingly", before being referred to his own office.

      • Manchester United directors meet on Monday night to discuss a deal. Discussions continue into the early hours.

      • Shareholders United Against Murdoch is formed by author Michael Crick, media consultant Richard Lander and advertising executives Richard Hytner and Ben Langdon. They say they hope to harness the support of individual shareholders who together own 23% of the club.

      • The deal is secured on Tuesday afternoon for the higher price of £625m - after Mr Murdoch threatened to withdraw the offer at 5pm if it was not backed by the club.

      • The board of Manchester United is reported to have eventually backed the deal unanimously.

      • The Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association meet on Tuesday night and are expected to hold a dignified protest at Wednesday's home match against Charlton Athletic.

      • The board was set to formally announce the bid on the stock exchange at 7.30am on Wednesday and recommend it to shareholders.

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09 Sep 98†|†UK
Fury as football enters new era

09 Sep 98†|†Business
United accept BSkyB offer

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