On 12 May 2005, American business Malcolm Glazer acquired a controlling interest in Manchester United. The Glazer family eventually gained complete ownership of the club, sparking a wave of protests that are continuing to this day.
Glazer, whose family also owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, first got involved with Manchester United in March 2003, when he and his family purchased a 2.9% share of the club for approximately £9 million. They gradually purchased additional shares, so that by October 2004, they neared the 30% threshold that would require them to launch an official takeover bid.
Meanwhile, two other shareholders--JP McManus and John Magnier, who had 28.7% between them--had fallen out with manager Alex Ferguson over issues related to the trio's joint ownership of a racehorse. The two of them had earlier tried unsuccessfully to oust Ferguson and had seen their influence in the club wane as a result. On 12 May 2005, Glazer reached agreement to purchase the shares owned by McManus and Magnier, giving the Glazer family a majority stake of almost 60%. By the end of the summer, they took complete ownership of the club.
Despite success on the pitch under the Glazers (with three league titles and one Champions League trophy between 2007 and 2009), the acquisition proved very costly, with the deal's financing costs increasing United's debt to a staggering £716.5 million by January 2010. Angered over the the club's financial state, supporters staged anti-Glazer protests that included the adoption of the club's original green and gold colors and the formation of a splinter club, FC United of Manchester.
To date, however, the Glazers have refused any pressure to sell the club. With United poised to claim yet another league title this month and preparing to meet Barcelona in the Champions League Final at Wembley, it looks unlikely that there will be any change in ownership in the near future.