Sir Jim Ratcliffe was at Old Trafford on Friday to attend a presentation held by senior Manchester United management staff.
INEOS founder Ratcliffe and Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani have made offers to buy United to American merchant bankers Raine, which was brought in to assist the club in assessing bids.
The club’s owners, the Glazer family, announced last November they were conducting a strategic review, with the sale of United one option being considered.
Ratcliffe, the 70-year-old owner of Ligue 1 club Nice, was joined at Old Trafford by INEOS co-owners Andy Currie and John Reece, with former British Cycling chief Sir David Brailsford, now director of sport at INEOS Sport, also part of the delegation.
The PA news agency understands their meetings with the club went very well, with substantive discussions on both the business and football side.
Ratcliffe’s team will now take stock of the situation before the next stage of the process.
Sheikh Jassim’s representatives were in Manchester on Thursday for a tour of Old Trafford before attending presentations at United’s Carrington training complex.
United boss Erik Ten Hag revealed he met the INEOS delegation, having been unable to do the same with the Qataris because of the Europa League tie in Seville.
Ten Hag said at his press conference ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Fulham: “I just met them, we shake hands, but I am focused on the game. We play a big game on Sunday and all our focus is on that. Others in the club are dealing with potential investors.”
PA understands Sheikh Jassim’s team visited for 10 hours – far longer than expected – and remain committed to buying the club following the substantive talks.
Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe are the only interested parties to publicly announce their bids to Raine.
Elliott Investment Management has also reportedly made it through to the second stage of the process, although the firm is said to be offering funding rather than a takeover.
It is understood Elliott representatives attended the 4-1 Europa League win against Real Betis at Old Trafford on March 9.