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American firm buy up United NY shares

AN American investment firm has acquired a quarter of all Manchester United shares available on the New York Stock Exchange, it has been confirmed.

Baron Capital has been buying up stock and now owns 24pc of all the United shares that were sold by the Glazer family in 2012, though that still only represents 2.5pc of the club.

Analysts believe the accumulation of shares reflects the firm viewing United as a good long-term investment, rather than Baron Capital making any bid to secure a controlling interest in the club.

The Glazer family only released 10pc of the club on to the stock market – they still retain 90pc and control the vast majority of votes.

Nevertheless, Baron Capital's actions explain why the share price has been slowly rising despite the club's struggles on the pitch. This has also been fuelled by expectation of a new Nike kit deal worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Baron Capital's United shareholding was confirmed in a securities and exchange commission filing on the Manchester United investor relations website. It says Baron Capital now owns 9,581,636 shares, which were worth $151million (£90million) at the close of the market last night.

Baron Capital stated: "Shares of Manchester United dropped... due to a delay in the signing of a new global merchandise deal with Nike and the team's poor performance on the field. The Nike deal is still expected to be signed, but has been pushed out from this fiscal year. We remain positive on the company's prospects going forward."

The United share price closed at $15.84 on Monday – the highest level since November.