SBD/July 31, 2012/Franchises

Manchester United Begins Process Of NYSE Listing, With 10.2% Stake In Club For Sale

ManU is hoping to raise up to US$383M by selling a 10.2% stake in the club
EPL club Manchester United has started the process for its NYSE listing and hopes "to raise" up to $383M (all figures U.S.) by selling a 10.2% stake in the club, according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. A total of 16.7 million shares "will be offered and priced at between $16 and $20 per share." It values ManU at up to $3.6B, "making them the most valuable sports team in the world." However, club Owners the Glazers "drove another wedge between themselves and Manchester United supporters last night by reneging on their original plans to use all funds from a successful flotation in New York to reduce the club's exorbitant debt." The Glazers had stated in their preliminary filing earlier this month that they "intend to use all of our net proceeds from their offering to reduce our indebtedness." But it emerged last night that the owners "now plan to use only" $114.4M of any proceeds to reduce the debt, and "pocket a similar sum for themselves." If demand for the IPO "proves high, the Glazers could receive" up to $216.7M. Under the terms of the listing, the Glazers "will retain control of United through their ownership of Class B shares, which will have ten times the voting power of the stock sold to the public." ManU's IPO prospectus states that the club "will sell 8.3 million shares" and the Glazers also will "sell 8.3 million shares but will have the option to sell 2.5 million more if there is sufficient demand from investors" (LONDON TIMES, 7/31). ManU in a statement said that the club's Class A Ordinary Shares "will trade under the symbol 'MANU.'" In London, Simon Stone writes, "On an issue where even the use of the word 'MANU' can evoke bad feeling due to its alien nature amongst hard-core United fans, the Glazer family has already been a hugely divisive issue" (London INDEPENDENT, 7/31).

RISE AND FALL: The prospectus states that ManU's total club revenues "in the year to June 30 are expected to be down by as much as" 5%, at $493.5-501.4M. Much of that is "due to a reduction of as much as [$23.8M] in broadcasting income in the light of United's early exit from the Champions League." But commercial revenues "are up" by 13% to $183.3M thanks to "new sponsorship deals and a north American promotional tour." The prospectus states that the company "was incorporated in the Cayman Islands on April 30." It also "outlined the club's future commercial strategy -- including a 'regional sponsorship model' across the world and an expanded MUTV" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 7/30).
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