Is Manchester United Up for Sale or Not?


Rumours abound that Manchester United’s owners are preparing an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to sell $1 billion dollars of shares on the Singapore Stock exchange. We attempt to tease out what’s going on

There have been reports for some time that the Glazers are preparing an exit strategy from their acquisition of Manchester United football club.

An exercise in kite flying?

In June, LWD noted that news of a floatation in Hong Kong seemed to be an exercise in kite flying.

More substantial evidence

This time, the story is backed up with more substantial evidence. The Wall Street Journal reported [Aug 16 2011] “United, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange as Manchester United PLC before a £790 million ($1.29 billion) takeover by the Glazer family in 2005, had initially planned to list in Hong Kong, but changed its mind and has now picked Singapore as a listing venue.”

Maximum offer assessed as ‘15% – 25%’

Bloomberg suggests that a proposed offering would involve sale of 15%-25% of the shares in the club.

What’s going on?

The club has so far exercised its right not to comment. Like any entrepreneurial owners, the Glazers have been developing an exit strategy for their venture into acquiring Manchester United. If such an IPO is successful, the club will arguably have restructured its debts somewhat. This in turn will be a step towards an eventual change of ownership.

Will more cash buy more success on the field?

Fans will hope for more cash to acquire top players as needed to compete at the very highest levels in world football. The situation is seen as more urgent since two major rivals in the UK (Chelsea and more recently Manchester City) have billionaire owners and more financial resources. If cash for players is to be the major factor in success, then MUFC fans will also be hoping that another billionaire will enter the fray some time further down the line.

Interestingly, Manchester United, current champions of the UK’s Premier league, have been remarkably successful under the stringent financial constraints of the Glazer regime.

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3 Responses to Is Manchester United Up for Sale or Not?

  1. Nik says:

    We don’t want a billionaire owner. We are not some rich mans toy and have no interest in joing Chelski or Mansour Citeh. We are being run in an extremely positive and well mannered fashion and while no one likes debt it has helped us to remain grounded. We don’t just buy players for the sake of it ALA Citeh & Real Madrid, and our wage structure is still mid range; We have 25 players all driven to perform rather than just warm the bench and our commercial revenues have gone through the roof. If the Glazers clear the debt I can see them keeping the club and slowly buying them back until eventually they own the club out right. Without debt they may then look to sell but until then I hope we are safe from the clutches of bored oil rich scum that have no clue about how a football team should be run. We are not a subbuteo set

  2. samer al salhi says:

    what ever the current situation is , we have to take the decision from the club’s leaders perspective , deciding to go public is not easy but the thing is a business case in which the owners seeks short term benefits and the club leaders seek the long ones which requires more cash to be injected from the current owner

    i think going public will open a new horizon for the club which must change its way in managing the team and may even cause a management change , there is always a risk when changes take place but in other hand if managed carefully it will lead for a great success

  3. Thanks for these comments.

    If you want to join it, please remember LWD has an open comment policy, but that is linked to editorial ‘dictatorship’ if the comments are abusive or otherwise inappropriate, which tend to be ‘spammed’.

    Nik’s contribution almost got an editorial red card.

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