Revealed: The truth about Finnish investor's Man United takeover bid amid dramatic twist today - sources

Thomas Zilliacus’ bid to buy Man United is not being taken seriously in industry circles, Football Insider has learned.

The Finnish businessman issued a press release on Thursday (23 March) stating that he had submitted an offer through XXI Century Capital, an investment vehicle owned by his holding company.

His proposal is unique in that he wants United supporters to commit half the funds in exchange for a direct say in how the club is run on a day-to-day basis.

But multiple industry insiders have told this site that the democratic solution, which Zilliacus claims would be operated through an app for supporter-investors, is unworkable based on the figures he has provided.

It is also not believed that Zilliacus has submitted proof of funds to the United sale brokers Raine Group, nor has he been involved at any stage in the first two rounds of the takeover process.

Zilliacus’ Wikipedia page was created by an account which shares the names of one of his businesses, Sutalgroup, and contains a number of unreferenced claims.

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That Wikipedia entry, in addition to the claims in the original press release, appears to be one of the primary sources cited in much of the reporting around his bid.

Zillacus, who has previously worked as chairman of Finnish club HJK, was head of global communications at former telecommunications titans Nokia between 1980 and 1996.

He launched phoenix company Newkia when Nokia was sold to Microsoft in 2013 in an attempt to create a new smartphone capable of disrupting Apple’s dominance in the market.

That company has since pivoted to clean energy solutions and claims to have invented a battery that can take an electric vehicle 100,000km on a single charge.

Zilliacus is also the former owner of the dissolved social media company Yuzoo, which was taken off the Singapore Stock Exchange in 2018 following allegations that they misled investors.

The Yuzoo shareholders association insists that these claims were false and that they have lost approximately $200billion as a result.

Zilliacus values United at around £3.2billion, nearly half of what the Glazer family are looking for and considerably less than the £4-5bn bids expected to be submitted by the groups led by frontrunners Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Jassim and Ratcliffe have both been granted extensions to submit their final offers for United after they did not file bids by last night’s 9.00pm deadline.

That news emerged after an evening of confusion in which sources erroneously told various outlets that bids from the British and Qatari billionaire had been lodged before the cut-off.

Several other groups – including US hedge fund Elliot Management, who want to buy either a minority stake in the club or fund a full takeover on behalf of another investor – did meet the deadline.

In other news, Sheikh Jassim is ‘huge’ fan of superstar as Man United plot record bid.