Sunday 17 December 2017

Manchester United confirm plans to sell 10pc of club

Simon Stone

THE Glazer family have issued a notice of intent to sell just over 10 per cent of Manchester United on the New York Stock Exchange.

An announcement was made on Monday evening and confirms an intention to raise around $300million.

However, there does appear to have been a significant shift in how the proceeds will be used.

Previously, it was suggested that the entire sum would be used to pay off United's massive debt, that currently stands at over £400million.

However, the prospectus that has been released to accompany last night’s announcement indicates only half the money will be used in that way, with the rest going directly to the family.

If that proves to be the case it will provoke fury among the United support, who have already seen vast amounts of cash disappear in various charges following the Glazer family takeover in 2005.

The news comes on the day United confirmed a massive new shirt sponsorship deal with US car giant Chevrolet, which takes effect from 2014.

However, critics will also point to the fact the club are yet to post end-of-year accounts which show the exact amount bowing out of the Champions League group stage cost them.

"Manchester United today commenced its initial public offering of 16,666,667 Class A Ordinary Shares," said a statement issued from New York by Sard Verbinnen & Co, the public relations firm enlisted by United for the IPO.

"Manchester United is offering 8,333,334 Class A Ordinary Shares and the selling shareholder is offering 8,333,333 Class A Ordinary Shares.

"The underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 2,500,000 Class A Ordinary Shares from the selling shareholder.

"The Class A Ordinary Shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and will trade under the symbol "MANU.""

On an issue where even the use of the word 'MANU' can evoke bad feeling due to its alien nature amongst hard-core United fans, the Glazer family has already been a hugely divisive issue.

Some view them as mere custodians of United and, taking Sir Alex Ferguson's repeated assurances - the latest delivered less than a fortnight ago - treat them from a neutral perspective.

More militant Red Devils fans have maintained an antagonistic stance, continually stressing how draining the Glazers' involvement has been to United's finances.

Once the announcement has been fully digested, more may become clearer.

And it is not yet known what the exact response in New York will be given the US can hardly be described as a soccer hotbed.

One thing is virtually certain though.

Having never followed up on their single interview about the club, delivered by Joel Glazer seven years ago, the family are unlikely to ever speak about their future intentions and plans.

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