Manchester United Owners Confirm Controversial IPO Plans

By Community | July 31, 2012

Manchester United hope to raise around US$300 million by selling just over 10% of the club on the New York Stock Exchange, the Glazer family confirmed.

The United owners initially claimed they would use the funds to pay off the club’s £400 million debt. However, the prospectus that has been released to accompany the announcement on Monday evening indicates only half the money will be used for that purpose, with the rest going directly to the Glazer family.

“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'”

The Glazers intend to hold on to the remaining 8,333,334 Class B shares, giving them 10 times as many voting rights on the club’s board as those who hold Class A shares.

This late change in stance is likely to anger United supporters who have opposed the family’s reign following the their takeover of the club in 2005.

“Supporters are going to be very angry about this,” said Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST). “The Glazers have already cost United more than £550 million in debt related fees and now another slap in the face as they help themselves to half of the proposed IPO proceeds.

“Clearly this has nothing to do with benefits for Manchester United and is all about giving the Glazers quick access to desperately needed cash at the expense of our football club.”