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Manchester United move closer to Singapore listing

Fri 16th Sep 2011 | Money & Finance

The Singapore Stock Exchange has approved Manchester United’s application for a partial stock market flotation, according to reports.

The Barclays Premier League champion is now set to analyse market sentiment before launching its initial public offering (IPO) because of the uncertainty caused by the eurozone debt crisis. “They have received approval but the timetable is not fixed,” a source familiar with the deal told AFP. “The company is not in need of funds so they are not in a hurry to list. Basically, they are keeping a watching brief on market conditions.”

The target remains for a listing at the Singapore Exchange later this year but the source added: “Now that there is approval, they can roll out any time.” Earlier this month, United reported record full year profit and revenue figures in a move that strengthened its hand ahead of its mooted flotation. The club’s financial results for the year ending June 2011 outlined annual operating profits of £110.9 million, while revenue increased to £334.1 million, up £45 million on the previous year. Headline pre-tax profit came in at £29.7 million, compared with a loss of £15 million last year.

It is believed that an IPO could raise US$1 billion for a 25% to 30% stake in the club with the flotation viewed as a method to reduce United’s debt, which has been a continual source of anger to its fans. The Florida-based Glazer family acquired United for £790 million in 2005 in an agreement that saw the club de-listed from the London Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, another twist in the saga has emerged following claims the Qatari Royal Family are set to have another go at buying the Old Trafford outfit.

The Glazer family are believed to have snubbed previous interest from the mega-rich Middle East country, although with market conditions currently volatile, they may look more favourably on a deal now.

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