Manchester United are now seriously considering a minority investment with Carlyle Group Inc in talks.
The US private equity giants are believed to be ready to make a significant investment.
The auction of the Premier League club is poised to enter its final stages with Carlyle and US hedge fund Elliott Management seen as the favourites to acquire a minority stake from the Glazers, should the family opt for this route.
Carlyle declined to comment when asked about the latest twist in takeover talks of the club, which have also seen Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe table offers across two rounds of bidding.
The Independent has been told that investment firms Sixth Street and Ares have also shown an interest in the club.
The exact details of Carlyle’s proposal, including the investment amount and deal structure, are yet to be finalised.
Despite the long-term feeling that discussions over a minority investment was a tactic to drive up the price for full sale, the idea of the Glazers remaining is being given more credence than it was even a few weeks ago.
Carlyle is among the world’s largest private equity firms and has assets of more than $370 billion (£298 billion) under management.
There has also been internal debate within the Glazer family, who also own NFL franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers, over the potential sale.
With Joel and Avram Glazer believed to be keen to stay at Old Trafford and extend the family’s ownership since the 2005 takeover.
Carlyle’s previous UK investment includes the RAC breakdown recovery service and Addison Lee, the taxi-hire group.
The Glazer family, who purchased the Red Devils for £790 million in a highly leveraged deal, launched a formal sale process late last year and were poised to welcome a third round of bidding this month.
Fans have grown disgruntled at the direction of the ownership for loading debt on to the club.
United, who own the top-flight record of 20 English titles, last won the Premier League in 2013.
Source : Independent