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SBD Global/August 3, 2012/Franchises

ManU Manager Ferguson: 'Not A Grain Of Truth' To Rumor He's Cashing In On Club's IPO

ManU Manager Alex Ferguson says there's "not a grain of truth" to talk he's benefiting from IPO.
ManU Manager Alex Ferguson said there is "not a grain of truth" in rumors claiming he would benefit from the Glazer family's N.Y. flotation of the club, according to the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. The Red Devils boss has broken his silence in "spectacular fashion" via a strongly-worded statement revealed first by the M.E.N. website Thursday afternoon. The statement also disclosed that under a "2012 Equity Incentive Award Plan" senior Old Trafford employees stood to benefit to the tune £204M ($316M). This led fans to question whether Ferguson and CEO David Gill would "personally cash in on the move" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 8/2). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported Ferguson dismissed claims that "his recent support for the Glazers had been motivated by money." In a statement issued by the club on Ferguson's behalf he said, "In regards to suggestions that I have praised the Glazer Family because I stand to financially benefit from the proposed IPO, there is not a single grain of truth in this allegations. I do not receive any payments, directly or indirectly, from the IPO" (REUTERS, 8/2).

CASH NOT MOTIVATION: In London, Simon Stone wrote the most successful British manager of all time, Ferguson indicated that "he could have left United for more money if cash had been his prime motivation." It is why he has been "so annoyed at the slur on his character." Ferguson said, "My decisions and beliefs are not based around what is best for my personal financial gain. That is an accusation that insults me. If that was the case I would have left Old Trafford a long time ago" (INDEPENDENT, 8/2). Ferguson said in a statement: "I am speaking out because I do not want a situation to develop whereby the media and other parties create a rift, however small, between myself and any Manchester United fan. I've spent 25 years of my life pushing this club forward and not only could I not have done it without those fans, I do it for them" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/2). ESPN's Richard Jolly reported that a leading football finance expert has said that ManU "overvalued and believes that their forthcoming IPO will prove the prelude to the sale of the club." Square1 Consulting Chair David Bick said, "If you look at the current exchange rate, you get about £2B ($3.1B). They were talking about £1.8B a year ago, which is way too high. I just don't get the valuation. I don't get why major banks [as underwriters] have put their name behind it." ManU plans to use some of the proceeds to repay around £75M ($116M) of their debts, which currently stand at £437M ($677M). However, Bick said, "It is barely 20% of the debt. It is the bare minimum. I think that this float is just the prelude to them getting a market price and selling the club" (ESPNsoccernet, 8/1).
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