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Manchester United IPO Back On

Mon 16th Apr 2012 | Money & Finance

Manchester United’s proposed float on the Singapore Stock Exchange is poised to be reactivated according to reports.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the improved market conditions have led the Barclays Premier League champion’s owners, the Glazers, to resume the plan after postponing it last year due to market volatility.

Its thought they are seeking to raise up to £600 million by selling 25 to 30% of the club via an initial public offering (IPO) that would value the club at up to £2 billion. A spokesman for Manchester United told Reuters: “We don’t comment on this sort of speculation.”

The latest news comes after United chief executive David Gill in October spoke of the “potential” offered by a partial flotation, adding that the club’s owners were waiting for the right time to set the ball rolling.

Many fans have been critical of the Glazers’ takeover of Manchester United with the chief executive of Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), Duncan Drasdo being most vocal:

"Until we have more detail it is impossible to say with certainty what this will mean for Manchester United or its supporters, Drasdo said in his response to the news.”

An IPO was initially postponed last year due to volatile market conditions. However, Drasdo believes it was the conditions attached to the shares that may have made the offering less attractive to potential investors:

“If they are coming back with the same sort of inflated valuation and the same sort of proposal including non-voting shares then they should expect the same negative response from the market as last time.

“If instead they have learned their lesson and decide to offer a substantial proportion of full voting shares at a reasonable valuation and this is a pre-cursor to a full sale then this could be enthusiastically welcomed by United supporters worldwide.”

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. The takeover saddled United with a sizeable debt, which the club’s financial figures for the year ending June 2011 reported at £308.3 million.

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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