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SBD Global/August 10, 2012/Finance

ManU IPO Priced Below Initial Range At $14 Per Share, Trading Opens Friday

Shares in ManU’s initial public offering were priced at $14, below the $16 to $20 price range that underwriting banks had initially set, according to Mackenzie & Cotterill of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The lower price means the club and owners the Glazer family "will raise around $234M from the sale of 16.7 million shares." That is nearly $100M lower than the $330M implied at the top end of the range. It also means the Glazers, who bought the club in '05, will raise $117M gross, lower than hoped for. They could raise an additional $35M, as underwriters retain the option to sell an additional 2.5 million shares on behalf of the “selling shareholder.” The  plan is for half of the proceeds to be used to pay down the club's outstanding debt. According to Reuters, when the shares start trading on Friday under the symbol MANU, "it will mark the biggest sports listing on record," surpassing World Wrestling Federation’s $190M offer in '99. The lower pricing "came after the order book was closed at noon rather than at the conclusion of business on Thursday." (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/10). In N.Y., Lynn Cowan wrote "the fact that the deal was completed at all -- after much skepticism in the markets -- was a clear win for the Glazer family." The deal values the club at about $2.3B, which would make it one of the most valuable sports teams, eclipsing the $2.15B paid this year for the MLB L.A. Dodgers. Traders had doubted the deal from the beginning. Morningstar Inc., for example, "placed a preliminary value at about $10 a share" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/9). The AP's Mae Anderson reported that "half of the 16.7 million shares are being sold by the team, and half by the team's owner, a company controlled by the Glazer family." About 10% of the team's shares are being sold (AP, 8/9).
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