SBD/Issue 84/Facilities & Venues

Could Glazers Sell Old Trafford As Part Of ManU Refinancing?

Analysts Suggest Glazers Could Secure An
Immediate $488M From Old Trafford's Sale
EPL club Manchester United Owner the Glazer family "have raised the prospect of selling Old Trafford in the prospectus circulated to potential investors from whom they are seeking [US$814M] to refinance" the club, according to Ian Herbert of the London INDEPENDENT. The Glazers in the document state the legal contract governing the bond "will not prohibit us from selling certain key properties" and these include "our training ground facilities and our stadium." This statement "introduces the possibility of United selling and leasing back the most iconic asset they have," the stadium. Some analysts yesterday suggested that the Glazers "could secure an immediate [US$488M] from the ground's sale -- a figure which would almost halve their astronomical" US$1.1B debt. The Glazers in the prospectus stated that "anyone acquiring either the 75,797-capacity stadium or United's Carrington training ground 'will be required to enter into a long-term lease with us to enable us to continue to have substantially the same access to such property as we currently do'" (London INDEPENDENT, 1/14). In London, Ian Ladyman notes the Glazers "had steadfastly refused to consider such a controversial move since they plunged the club into debt when taking it into private ownership in 2005." But "ever since the Glazers bought their club, United supporters have suspected that the ground would one day be sold or, at the very least, renamed." Meanwhile, industry experts yesterday "stressed that using Old Trafford as security in this latest round of refinancing does not offer the stadium any particular protection against its sale in the future" (London DAILY MAIL, 1/14).

POSITIVE TALKS: The London TELEGRAPH reports EPL club Everton has "held 'positive' talks with Liverpool City Council over plans for a new stadium." The two sides met Monday "following the Government's decision last year to reject a planning application for a new stadium in nearby Kirkby." The US$650M development for a 50,000-seat stadium, "in partnership with Tesco, collapsed in November with Liverpool City Council one of the opponents" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/12).

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