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The ManU IPO

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For fools and fans only


WHEN Manchester City topped Manchester United on goal difference to win England’s Premiership title in May, it was a case of equity triumphing over debt. City, long the poorer and less successful soccer team, has soared since being bought in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, and has been buying players as if money were free (which in the sheikh’s case it nearly is). United, by contrast, has found its ability to buy the best players constrained by debts of nearly $700m, nervous bankers and pending European “fair play” rules designed to ensure teams do not prosper by taking excessive financial risks.


Even when he is on form, Wayne Rooney (pictured), now United’s only genuine superstar, cannot win trophies on his own. Hence the forthcoming initial public offering announced on July 3rd. This is not a return to the full public-company status the Red Devils enjoyed between 1991 and 2005, when the club was taken private by the Glazer family of Florida, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an American-football team. Nor is it the $1 billion offering that was widely expected to take place in Singapore, which seems to have been abandoned because of volatile financial markets. Instead, United will list on the New York Stock Exchange, and will aim to sell only enough shares to raise $100m.


United’s brand is still reckoned to be the most valuable in football, at around $2.2 billion, according to Forbes magazine. But that does not make the shares a wise investment. The filing documents list more than 50 risk factors, from the performance of the team to reliance on the laws of the Cayman Islands.


United will not have to release much financial information, since the Glazers are taking advantage of America’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 to register it as a lightly regulated “emerging growth company”. (Is a 134-year-old club staffed by spoilt millionaires really the sort of “start-up” the law’s drafters had in mind?) New shareholders will have little say over how United is run, including whether it pays them any dividends. The shares the Glazers are offering are special ones with minimal voting rights. So the only return from this IPO is likely to be the victories the money raised brings on the pitch. This is an offering for fools and fans only.

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Read about this last week. The analysts in the piece are pretty certain the money will almost exclusively used to pay down debt, but not so they can eventually sell or free up cash for transfers. According to this American stock market guy that knows the family Malcolm Glazer has every intention of keeping the club in the family and when he snuffs it his sons will own it - there's no chance of them leaving the club for many years yet.


Everyone seems to assume that Mourinho will go there when ferguson retires but I can't see that happening if he will have only limited funds to do the rebuilding job.

Edited by The walters step over
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According to this American stock market guy that knows the family Malcolm Glazer has every intention of keeping the club in the family and when he snuffs it his sons will own it - there's no chance of them leaving the club for many years yet.


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The goal remains the same but Reds may be losing support


20 July 2012

The Times


The Glazer family is expected to launch an initial public offering of Manchester United in New York as early as next week amid speculation that its sights have been lowered because of slack investor demand.

The football club's American owners are looking to raise about $300 million (£191 million) to help to reduce its debts, according to reports yesterday. People close to the situation had said earlier that the Glazers had hoped to raise an amount closer to the club's debt of £423 million.

The Glazers were forced last year to abandon plans to raise between £400 million and £600 million through a listing in Singapore because of difficult market conditions.

Their plans to sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange instead were revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this month. The prospectus stated that the proceeds would be used to reduce the club's debts.

The listing will allow the Glazers to retain full control of United through a dual-share structure. Investors will own Class A shares in a Cayman Islands-registered company that will, in turn, own the club. The Glazers will own Class B shares, which will each have ten times the voting rights of the Class A shares. Investors will be unable to block any decisions made by the Glazers, nor will they receive dividends.

That has led to a lukewarm reaction among institutional investors in the United States. There has also been scepticism about United claiming to be an "emerging growth company" under new American legislation designed to encourage start-up ventures. The provision allows certain companies with revenues of less than $1 billion to provide fewer financial disclosures.

Andy Green, a fund manager who writes an influential blog about the club's finances, said: "It's a peculiar offer [to investors], isn't it? You get no votes, no dividends, no rights of attendance, no AGM. Basically, you've got no privileges whatsoever as a shareholder. You may as well buy a season ticket and you'll have more fun."

The Glazers have been strongly criticised by many United fans since they bought the club for £790 million in 2005, amid claims that its cash reserves have been used to pay interest on the huge debts instead of bolstering the playing squad.

The owners are pressing ahead with an investor roadshow set to begin as early as next week, sources familiar with the matter said. Jefferies is leading a syndicate of banks that includes Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Bank of AmericaMerrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank.



Total debt £423.3m

Finance costs £52.9m

Total revenue 2011 £331.4m

Net profit from continuing operations 2011 £13m



Champions League 1

Premier League 4

League Cup 3

Community Shield 4



July 2012

the Glazers turn instead to America, with plans to raise $300 million on the New York Stock Exchange to help pay down its £423 million debt pile

Feb 2010

acrimony towards the Glazers reignites as thousands of fans turn up to the Carling Cup final wearing green and gold, the club's original colours

Jan 2010

the Glazers refinance their debts to international banks through a £500m bond issue, after paying out £41.9m in interest the previous year Jun Cris Mad

June 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo is sold to Real Madrid for a record £80m transfer fee, allowing the club narrowly to avoid falling into the black for the year avo yea

July 2005

a group of disgruntled fans set up FC United of Manchester, a collectively owned non-league club, in protest at the Glazer's takeover

August 2011

the Glazers look at floating Man United on the Singapore stock exchange, hoping to raise $1bn by listing 25-30 per cent of the company. Plans are scrapped because of low demand and the economic turmoil

May 2005

JP McManus and John Magnier, the Irish horseracing tycoons sell their 29% stake to the Glazer family

March 2003

Malcolm Glazer, the American sports magnate behind the Superbowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, takes stake in Man United

June 2005

Man United delist from the London Stock Exchange after the Glazers take full control of the club for about £800m during the

April 2006

Man United sign a British record £57 million four-year shirt sponsorship deal with AIG, the American insurance giant

June 2009

Man United sign a new record shirt-sponsorship deal, worth £80m. AON, the insurance broker, replaces AIG after the latter almost collapsed during the financial crisis

March 2010

a group of businessmen dubbed the 'Red Knights', including Keith Harris, of Seymour Pierce, and Jim O'Neill, of Goldman Sachs, try to buy the club. The plot fizzles out as the Glazers declare the club is not for sale

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Mr Alex Ferguson: Back off the Glazers. They're doing a great job! Supporters are still angry over United owners putting club £425m in debt, but manager denies problems


Mr. Ferguson has launched a passionate defence of the Glazer family, insisting: ‘They have always backed me whenever I have asked them for anything.’


In a far-reaching interview here at the first phase of the team’s strenuous pre-season programme, the Manchester United manager rubbished suggestions that the mountainous debt incurred by the American owners of the club was hampering his buying plans.


‘I’m absolutely comfortable with the Glazers situation. They’ve been great,’ he said. ‘So if you’re asking me for my views, I don’t have any complaints.


I’ve never encountered opposition. They’ve always been as sensible as they can be in terms of financing the team, and they have to invest in the team to maintain the value of their asset.’


The fiercely strong anti-Glazer feeling among United’s rank and file following has grown with the recent revelation that the family are trying to float the club on the New York Stock Exchange in order to raise about £200million to help relieve the debt built up in buying United seven years ago.



That currently stands at £423m, with the club having spent more than £500m on interest, debt repayments and fees since 2005.


‘I think there are a whole lot of factions at United that think they own the club,’ said Ferguson. ‘They will always be contentious about whoever owns the club, and that’s the way it has always been.


‘When I came to the club, Martin Edwards was always getting pelted because he was going to sell to [Robert] Maxwell, then to [Rupert] Murdoch, Michael Knighton, and when they became a plc there was disaffection.


‘Then, when the Glazers took over, there was disaffection, so there have always been wee pockets of supporters who have their views… and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think the majority of the real fans will look at it realistically and say it’s not affecting the team. We’ve won four championships since they’ve been there, one European Cup.


‘I think the problem is they [the Glazers] are not publicists. They don’t go out of their way to seek good publicity. They are quite happy to stay in the background. Roman Abramovich is the same.’


United are valued as the richest sports franchise in the world, at £1.5billion, mainly as a result of the efforts of Ferguson, whose haul of 48 trophies since he took over 25 years ago has made him the most successful football manager in British history. And now, giving little indication that his tenure is even close to ending, the 70-year-old Scot is as enthusiastic as ever about the future.


Citing the vast improvements to make the Carrington training complex one of the best in the world as evidence of the Glazers’ investment, he said: ‘Look at what they are spending on the training ground.


It’s going to be fantastic. At the moment it’s a bit of a bombsite, but it’s supposed to be completed by October and we just hope it’s ready on time. They’ll be spending about £30m and its all down to them.’


Ferguson responded to fans’ frustration at the lack of summer transfer activity by insisting he was not prepared to fork out inflated transfer fees. Responding to the fans’ clamour for a £30million-plus signing, he said: ‘Well they can wait!


‘We buy in the right way and that’s the difference between United and the rest — we can play 18-year-olds because it’s part of our history. It’s like a destiny for us that when a young player emerges we play him, and that has never failed us.


‘No other clubs can do that. City won’t do it. They definitely won’t play any young players who have come up through the system. Their buys are all 25, 26, 27-year-old established players with a good maturity, experience and good ages. They won’t go away because the age group tells you that. They don’t have any over-30s in their team.


They don’t play any young players and the fans don’t expect any youth players to come through the way we expect them to at United.’


While Chelsea have spent huge amounts to sign the likes of Eden Hazard, the United boss has spent a total of about £20m to bring in Japan forward Shinji Kagawa and teenage midfielder Nick Powell.


‘There is a borderline in terms of what you would think is a good signing for United,’ said Ferguson. ‘I see some values on players, like Hazard for instance. To me it was a lot of money. He’s a good player, but £34m?


‘What we’re finding anyway, the climate for buying these top players — not just the transfer fees, [but] the salaries, agent’s fees — is just getting ridiculous now. In the Hazard deal, Chelsea paid the agent £6m. The Nasri situation was the same.


‘It’s all about what you think is value for a player. I am not envious of those deals at all. We placed a value on Hazard which was well below what they were talking about. So if it doesn’t work, well we’re not worried about that. We think we’ve got good value in Kagawa


‘We scout well. Sometimes we do the scouting for other clubs. The minute the agent knew we’d spoken to Powell, I think every club was in with offers. But we’d done the deal.


‘Whenever we show interest in a player it activates the situation with other clubs. But we’ve done well over the years. We’ve bought well, one or two bad ones, no doubt about that, but you handle that.


‘The big difference is when the academy started 10 years ago we had to change our scouting in terms of abroad. So that’s increased. Looking at countries like Brazil, Mexico and through South America. France, too, we’re all over Europe now.’

Mr Alex Ferguson on Retirement


Mr. Ferguson has insisted that Manchester United will still continue to enjoy great success even after he decides to end his reign as manager.


Asked if he thought there would be life after him at United, he said: ‘Of course. Manchester United are an institution and the history here forces everything.’


Ferguson hinted that any successor would have to have had a wealth of experience managing at the top level. But he scoffed at the idea that following him would be a daunting prospect.


Would he like to follow himself into this job? ‘Yes, definitely. Why not? It cannot be an impossible job with the structure we have at this club.


‘I don’t think the club will choose a young manager because it is a job that demands experience. The future is absolutely solid. If you look at the team I could play all under 22 or 23, De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Evans. Cleverley, Powell, Chicharito, Lingard, Welbeck, Kagawa. These players will become the United team for the next three or four years.


‘It would not be a daunting prospect to follow me.’

Mr Alex Ferguson on Rooney


Wayne Rooney and United’s other top players may not be fully tuned up for the start of the new season because of their summer international commitments.


The club have a comparatively inexperienced squad on their pre-season tour to South Africa and the Far East, with many regulars not due to return to training until later this week.


‘We’ve got 13 players who are not here from the squad,’ said manager Mr. Ferguson.


‘Evans, Jones and Vidic are still recovering from operations and treatment for their injuries.


‘With the Euros, Nani, Rooney, Young, Jones, Evra won’t be back until July 26. Then we’ve got four more players (Giggs, Cleverley, De Gea and Rafael) at the Olympic Games. So it is difficult.


‘We’ve bought Shinji Kagawa and we don’t even know who he’s going to be playing with.


‘The rest of the squad won’t be playing until the game against Valerenga on August 5. It’s definitely an awkward feeling.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2176993/Sir-Alex-Ferguson-defends-Manchester-United-owners-The-Glazer-family.html#ixzz21ITzWMic


He really doesn't give a s*** about the club or fans.

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Manchester United's New York setback exposes failings of Glazers plan


Halting of Manchester United's New York IPO has illustrated the unattractiveness to investors – and fans – of the club's model


Stuart James

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 July 2012 19.10 BST



Another day, another reality check for the Glazers. Manchester United, described as "one of the world's leading brands" in the 231-page registration document filed earlier this month in preparation for the club's flotation on the New York stock exchange, may not be quite as attractive as its owners like to believe.


After a proposed float in Singapore was pulled last year, it has emerged that United's planned initial public offering (IPO) in New York has been temporarily postponed because of volatile US markets. While United and Jefferies, the investment bank signed up to lead the flotation, remain tight-lipped about the process, those that forensically examine the Premier League club's accounts are questioning whether the latest setback is about more than the fiscal shockwaves triggered by another turbulent week in the eurozone.


"Obviously it's a tough time economically but the US stock market has barely changed from where it was when they published the original prospectus," said Andy Green, a financial analyst who writes the "andersred blog" about football ownership and is an adviser to the Manchester United Supporters Trust (Must). "Although it's hard to see inside a process like this, they're obviously having problems, and I get the impression from people that I'm talking to in the market that it's at high risk of being cancelled."


Should that happen, it will put paid to the Glazers' hopes that fresh investment will cover a sizeable chunk of the £423m debt they loaded on to a club that have fallen well behind their Premier League rivals when it comes to competing in the transfer market.


One of the primary reasons for that in the eyes of many United supporters is that the Glazers have taken £500m out of the club, in interest, bank charges and fees, to service the debt. "The latest figures we've got is that they've spent £71m on the debt in the first nine months of the financial year," Green said. "And obviously supporters were hoping that the IPO would lead to an end to a lot of those costs and more money being available to the manager.


"But in the short term, the real question is: if they do have to pull this IPO, what does it say about investors' perceptions of Manchester United? The Glazers have had talks with various parties in the past and never been able to agree on a price and this would be a real slap in the face for them if they take it to the biggest stock market in the world and they can't get it away."


In truth, it would hardly come as a surprise if United's shares prove to be a hard sell. The shares will carry a tenth of the voting rights of the shares the Glazers will issue to themselves and there is no plan to pay dividends. The Glazers, in other words, will remain in complete control and are offering precious little in return.


"It's a tough sell to start with, with very little voting rights, no annual general meetings where you can quiz the management, no dividend. But on top of that obviously there is the question of what valuation they're putting on it, and if they're trying to put a very high price on the club and all those things I've mentioned, then it becomes very, very difficult," Green said.


Must have called on the Glazer family to launch a full flotation, which would no doubt prompt a very different response, in particular from United supporters. Duncan Drasdo, the Must chief executive, said: "Should they choose to do this, with no strings attached, we would support such a flotation wholeheartedly and encourage the global fan base of Manchester United to seize such an historic opportunity to secure a meaningful fan ownership stake where the priorities of the club are the same as the fans – not absentee owners."


Green, however, believes the prospects of that happening are slim. "I don't see [any possibility of that happening in the short term] but I think the trust are right, the Glazers are making a big mistake. They're trying to do this at this huge price and with keeping total control. Actually, there is a natural buyer for these shares if they want to get more money into the club from the outside to get the debt down — the supporter base which they reckon is 600m around the world.


"I'm sure there are at least a million football fans around the world who would like to own a stake in the club. The Glazers are far too short-sighted for that. They're too greedy and too controlling. I do think if this IPO falls apart, that it could be a real turning point because the Qataris, the Red Knights and now the world's institutional investors will all have said to the Glazers: 'No, the club is not worth as much as you think it is.'"



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@andersred Complete U-turn from Glazers. Personally taking half #MUFC IPO proceeds. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1549107/000104746912007537/a2210287zf-1a.htm


@andersred Quote from prospectus "We [united] will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the Class A ordinary shares by the selling shareholder."


@andersred #MUFC to only repay £73m of total £425m debt. #chickens***


@andersred That IPO u-turn in red and white. http://p.twimg.com/AzFDTCdCIAAfvxX.png


@andersred Glazers selling 10.2% of #MUFC, attempting to raise (at mid price) $300m.


@andersred 16m shares to be issued to #MUFC senior management under "2012 Equity Incentive Award Plan". That's why Gill has stuck around....


@andersred There is no way to positively spin this #MUFC IPO. Glazer family in desperate need of cash. That takes priority over club.


@andersred Cost of this IPO? £7.7m. Almost two years' interest saving.... #glazernomics

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The pay out to senior management quite possibly explains why Ferguson is so supportive of the wonderful Glazers too.


It's shocking this really, the fans are about to get taken to the cleaners and the FA will sit back and watch it. Indeed, makes you wonder if Ferguson is going to get a load of the 16m shares as well.


As an aside that agent Peter Harrison was ranting about Allardyce being on the take last night, and kept going on about 'his mates in the game' coming out to defend him, and them being at it as well. I immediately thought of Ferguson.

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It's shocking this really, the fans are about to get taken to the cleaners and the FA will sit back and watch it. Indeed, makes you wonder if Ferguson is going to get a load of the 16m shares as well.


As an aside that agent Peter Harrison was ranting about Allardyce being on the take last night, and kept going on about 'his mates in the game' coming out to defend him, and them being at it as well. I immediately thought of Ferguson.



think he was talking about Steve Bruce

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Ferguson and the senior management entitled to $288mill worth of share options. No wonder he supports the Glazers.




If that's not a smoking gun for the Man United fans to cry thief over then I have less respect for them than I thought I did.


Actually that's a stupid question, since I have zero respect for them. Anyway, they should go nuts over this, the latest chapter of him thinking himself bigger than the club. The Horse Spunk chapter being my favourite to date.

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the theory is that a share's value is the PV of its dividends into perpetuity.


Zero dividends....



That makes several multi-billion dollar companies worthless, in your book.


Bit outdated that theory - or maybe its right and there are just loads of stocks that are in a bubble. Could be!

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