Manchester United say the club could be sold as part of beginning a process to "explore strategic alternatives".
The club released a statement on Tuesday detailing the steps that have already been taken, which have involved appointing the Raine Group as the club's financial advisor and Latham & Watkins as legal counsel.
The club said the process had been begun "in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams".
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Besides a sale, United said that stadium development of Old Trafford and new investment were among other options on the table.
It made the day a tumultuous one for the Red Devils, with the club also announcing that they are to terminate Cristiano Ronaldo's contract "by mutual agreement, with immediate effect".
Expanding on why they had made their decision to start the "process", the club said: "The process is designed to enhance the club's future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.
"As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company.
"This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders."
The move could therefore signal the end of the club's Glazer family ownership, 17 years after the American family took over.
Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer released a joint statement, in which they wrote: “The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers.
"As we seek to continue building on the Club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
"We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future.
"Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
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