Manchester United seek £64m flotation
Wed 4th Jul 2012 | Money & Finance
Manchester United have applied to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in the hope of raising £64million from selling shares in the club.
The Barclays Premier League club filed documents with the United States government's Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
Share prices have yet to be set, but United would use the money raised from the flotation to reduce its debts, the application said.
The flotation would leave control over the club in the hands of the Glazer family, the billionaire US sports investors who bought the club in 2005 for $1.47billion (£940million) - a takeover which left debts of £423million.
The club pursued a $1billion (£640million) flotation on the Singapore stock market last year, but the move was halted because of the volatile global economy.
Under the reorganisation, the team would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manchester United Ltd, a newly-formed holding company based in the Cayman Islands.
Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST), responded "until we have more detail it is impossible to say with certainty what this will mean for Manchester United or its supporters."
"However from the initial information we have it appears that the new A shares on offer will be inferior to the Glazers' own B shares as they will carry only 1/10 of the voting rights. Furthermore the preliminary filing appears to indicate they will not be paying dividends either."
"So a minority shareholding with inferior voting rights and no dividends is going to severely impact on the attraction to both financial and supporter investors."
"However if it turns out that the vast majority of the proceeds are used to pay off the debt that is certainly something MUST would welcome and entirely vindicates our longstanding position that their debt was damaging our club."
"The destination of the funds shows the Glazers have finally conceded this as their filing includes health warnings 'Our indebtedness could adversely affect our health and competitive position ... reduce availability of our cash flow to fund the hiring and retention of players and coaching staff,' adding: 'We intend to use all of our net proceeds from this offering to reduce our indebtedness.'
In April, Manchester United was valued by Forbes magazine at $2.24billion (£1.43billion), making it the most valuable club in world football for the eighth year in a row.
Posted by: Kev Howland (@FCKev)
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