Who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe? The Oldham billionaire who's bought a stake in Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is one of Britain's richest men. Credit: PA images

English billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has reached a deal to buy a 25% stake in Manchester United for an estimated £1.25 billion.

He is one of Britain's richest men with an estimated net worth of £23.4 billion - but how much do we know about the 70-year-old businessman?

Born James Arthur Ratcliffe in Failsworth in Greater Manchester in 1952, he is said to have lived in a council house until the age of 10, when his family moved to East Yorkshire.

His first job was with oil giant Esso, but he decided to broaden his skills in finance by studying management accounting from 1978 to 1980.

Ratcliffe is now chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Ineos chemicals group, which he founded in 1998. 

In 2018, he received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to business and investment. 

Ratcliffe is a Manchester United supporter and a big sports fan. He's already involved with a number of different sports clubs.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe received his knighthood in 2018. Credit: PA Images

Ratcliffe's business partner and Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff is also looking to purchase a stake in Manchester United.

Wolff and Ratcliffe already own a combined third of the Mercedes Formula One team together, and have said they would work to both secure deals with the Glazers.

Ratcliffe had previously made a bid to buy the club outright, but in September 2023 the Glazers announced the club would be taken off the market until at least 2025.

Ineos group already owns two football clubs, Nice in France and Swiss club Lausanne.

On 19 March 2019, Ratcliffe purchased the Team Sky cycling franchise, subsequently rebranded Team Ineos.

In February 2020 Ineos became principal partners of Mercedes AMG F1, signing a five-year agreement with the team.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe with Lewis Hamilton at the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in 2021. Credit: PA Images

He initially expressed an interest in buying Manchester United in August 2022 but was turned down.

Now, a spokesperson for Ineos has said: "We can confirm that the statement in The Times is correct. We have formally put ourselves into the process."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...