Thursday 23 November 2017

Manchester United puts off US flotation amid market turmoil

MANCHESTER United is understood to have postponed its $300m stock market flotation in the US amid market volatility.

The club, owned by the Glazer family, had been expected to kick off its investor road show this week with a view to listing on the New York Stock Exchange early next month.

But it was reported on Wednesday night that the Premier League club has decided to temporarily pause its plans, as anxiety over the eurozone unsettles markets across the Atlantic.

The club and its advisers are considering whether to still meet potential investors later this week as intended, it was reported.

Earlier this month, a number of potential institutional investors raised concerns about the initial public offering and the potential difficulty in making money on the stock.

The Premier League club unveiled plans to become a public company last year, but previous proposals to list in Hong Kong and Singapore were scrapped after the demand for shares did not match expectations.

The S&P 500 index has dipped 2pc so far this week as renewed fears over a eurozone collapse weigh on shareholders’ minds.

Investors have also been cautious since Facebook’s over-hyped $104bn flotation earlier this year failed to live up to its promise. In May, Graff Diamonds pulled its Hong Kong listing following lower than anticipated demand for its shares, while Formula One’s listing in Singapore has also been put on the back burner.

Several institutions, including Sica Wealth Management and Beam Capital Management, earlier this month voiced doubts over Manchester United’s high levels of debt and the dual ownership structure proposed by the American Glazer family.

The Glazers acquired Manchester United in 2005 in a highly leveraged deal but have come under criticism from its fans, who believed its debt mountain has restricted manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s ability to buy big-name players.

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