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Malcolm Glazer’s attempt to buy Manchester United has failed as the Irish investors J P McManus and John Magnier withdrew from talks on selling their key 28.9% stake.

They are understood to have told Glazer that they are long-term investors and have no interest in selling to him at the proposed 300p a share.

Neither side would comment officially, but a Stock Exchange statement today confirming Glazer’s withdrawal is expected today.

The Irishmen’s refusal to sell came as a relief to supporters groups last night.

Sean Bones of Shareholders United told The Guardian: “It is good news. We didn’t want Malcolm Glazer at the club and we have made that clear.”

Jules Spencer, chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, added: “If it does turn out that Glazer has pulled out, we will be delighted but we will not take our eye off the ball until he officially declares that he is not going to make a bid.”

United’s share price fell 3.8 per cent to 264p yesterday as rumours circulated that the takeover offer was on the verge of collapse.

For Glazer, the collapse of the bid represents something of a humiliation. He is now one of the club’s major shareholders but seemingly without the means to increase his stake.

He may be tempted to sell his stake but given the reluctance of McManus and Magnier to relinquish their own holding, not to mention, opposition from supporters groups to any prospective takeover bids, Glazer may find it difficult to find a buyer.

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