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SBD/July 5, 2012/Franchises
Manchester United Files For IPO In U.S., Hopes It Will Help Tackle Debt
Published July 5, 2012
REASONS FOR U.S. FLOATATION: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz notes a listing in Asia "would have seen the owners exploiting interest in the club from fans in the region." An equivalent push "in the US is unlikely to happen." But one of the "motivations for listing the shares in the US is to enable the Glazers to use a dual-class share structure, and thereby retain control" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/5). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Futterman & Clark noted United would be "one of the first sports teams to go public in the U.S. in more than a decade." Data tracker Dealogic indicated the last team to do so was the Indians, which launched in '98 and "was later taken private" (WSJ.com, 7/4). The AP's Ronald Blum noted the deal "could ease pressure on the club's cash flow as it tried to keep and acquire players in an attempt to regain English and European titles." While the stock price and the number of shares "were not listed, the registration statement said the club hoped to raise a maximum of $100 million -- a place-holding figure that could change before the offering becomes effective" (AP, 7/4). However, in London, James Ducker writes the Glazers "managed to distance themselves more than ever with a fanbase doubtless hoping that the club will be sold rather than, as curiously stated in the document, passed down to the 'linear descendants' of Malcolm Glazer" (LONDON TIMES, 7/5).