Australian businessman Michael Ibrahim has launched a fresh bid to buy Manly from the Penn family.
The parties, introduced via an intermediary a month ago, have been in secret negotiations about the potential purchase. It is understood Ibrahim is prepared to part with as much as $18 million to take control of the franchise.
When the Herald first broke news of Ibrahim’s interest in the Sea Eagles – under the back-page headline ‘Qatar Heroes’ in May of last year – he was trying to broker the deal on behalf of a number of wealthy Middle-Eastern ruling families. However, Ibrahim has now changed tack and is attempting to personally buy Manly with his own funds.
The Sea Eagles’ stocks have risen significantly since Ibrahim’s last approach. After narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon last year, the team is now in contention for a top-four finish after enjoying a resurgence under comeback coach Des Hasler. It has become an opportune time to sell, although chairman and majority owner Scott Penn has publicly distanced himself from the ongoing speculation that his family is keen to offload the club.