Manchester United postpones New York float as markets fall
Glazer family 'spooked' after more financial turmoil as supporters' trust calls for full sell-off
MANCHESTER UNITED has postponed its plans to float on the New York Stock Exchange after volatile market conditions "spooked" the Premier League club.
The Old Trafford outfit had been hoping to raise as much as $300m through a share offer to offset the huge debts imposed on it by the Glazer family, who bought United for £790m in 2005.
The decision to postpone the IPO is another setback for the company. Plans for a $1bn float in the Far East were abandoned last year, but the more modest New York sale appeared to be on course and roadshow presentations had been planned for this week.
But as The Guardian reports: "United and their advisers are now believed to be reassessing that plan following another week of turmoil in the eurozone that has caused world stock markets to slide. Wall Street's S&P 500 index is trading down two per cent this week, while keenly watched statistics on the volatility of the market are thought to have made potential investors more circumspect."
The latest market jitters compounded existing doubts about the club's valuation and the interest of American investors in a European football club.
It is not clear how long the IPO will be delayed. The FT says it is unlikely to be able to float "before the current IPO window closes in mid-August, ahead of the traditional market lull that runs through to the US public holidays in early September".
The Manchester United Supporters Trust, which opposes the Glazers' ownership of the club, said it supported the idea of a sell-off if it helped rid the club of some of its £425m debt burden and diluted the Glazers' stake. But it opposes the proposed dual-class share structure which would leave the current owners in charge.
"We now call on the Glazers to come back with a full flotation of Manchester United with a single class of full voting shares," it said. "Should they choose to do this, with no strings attached, we would support such a flotation wholeheartedly."