Tuesday 24 October 2017

Glazers: United 'not for sale'

The Glazer family have confirmed their commitment to Manchester United and insist they have no interest in selling the club.

United's owners made a short statement to accompany the release of second quarter financial results, in response to growing speculation about a massive offer for the club from the Qatar Royal Family.

It has always been stressed the Glazers view their United status as long-term, a point they are keen to emphasise.

"The board notes recent press speculation regarding a possible bid for Manchester United," said the statement.

"The owners remain fully committed to their long-term ownership of the club.

"No discussions have taken place, Manchester United is not for sale and the owners will not entertain any offers."

Whether the statement has any effect remains to be seen. A similar message accompanied their first quarter results but had little impact.

Even a statement from the Qatar Holdings investment vehicle last week insisting there were no plans to launch a buy-out failed to halt the rising price of the bonds issued by United to raise £500m.

It is widely assumed the Glazers would sell if they were offered an astronomical sum. A figure of £1.8bn has been mentioned, which would be more than twice the sum the Glazer family paid for the club when they launched their takeover in 2005.

However, as no one from the family has publicly discussed United since the immediate aftermath of the takeover, that situation cannot be taken for granted.

It also means mystery continues to surround exactly how they were able to pay off £220m in payment-in-kind notes earlier this year after already shelling out for punishing rates of interest.

Qatari involvement has been suggested, although earlier this week a United spokesman insisted the Glazers still owned 100pc of the club.

The results themselves show United's debt has fallen from £512.5m 12 months ago to £489.4m on December 31, 2010.

Whilst matchday and media revenues have been relatively stagnant, there has been a massive increase in commercial revenues of 30.2pc.

In the six months of the year so far, the commercial arm of the club has generated an incredible £50.4m, having secured a succession of new 'partnerships', the latest with global logistics company DHL.

It is now virtually certain United will this year become the first football club to crash through the £100m barrier for commercial revenue alone, emphasising the incredulity at reports from some quarters that revenue might actually be falling, specifically in shirt sales.

This surge in commercial revenues means that United's overall turnover has grown from growth £144.7m to £156.5m.

However, operating costs have also increased from £86m to £95.9m.

In buying back £24m of their own bonds - the reason for the reduction in debt - United feel the 8pc saving in interest is a more prudent use of cash than leaving it as part of their bank reserves, which now stand at £134.5m.

However, the club reserves the right to put the bonds back on the market should they so wish.

Press Association

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