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SBD Global/September 5, 2012/Finance

Analysts Expect The Shares Of Manchester United To Rise To $17 Over The Next Year

Manchester United Plc (MANU)'s stock "will increase to $17 over the next year, $3 above the price at which the shares started trading last month," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Analyst reports showed that "at least five securities firms began coverage" of the record 19-time English football champion on Tuesday. They include Jefferies Group Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co., "all underwriters on the equity offering," and Deutsche Bank AG and Nomura Holding Inc., which "were also involved in the deal." Jefferies' $20 price estimate was the highest in the group while Nomura's $13 projection was the lowest. The shares closed at $13.30 in N.Y. trading on Friday. Jefferies Analyst Randal Konik said, "Live sports programing is a winner in the new media landscape. With football the No. 1 sport in the world and Manchester United the most popular team, the company is poised to benefit immensely." Nomura Analyst Michael Nathanson added, "While there is much to like about the company's revenue model and near-term growth prospects, we remain cautious about the potential of greater-than-expected player cost inflation and valuation" (BLOOMBERG, 9/4).

QUESTIONS LINGER: In N.Y., Alexandra Scaggs reported that stock analysts covering Manchester United Ltd. "share a key worry" with the English football club's fans: "Will the team win?" Analysts pointed out that fans "are more likely to watch a team's games and buy its tickets if it wins, making success a key driver of revenue." Credit Suisse Analyst Spencer Wang said, "On-field performance is a swing factor." Bank of America Merill Lynch Analyst Bryan Goldberg said that "profit could rise 15% if the team wins a championship but could fall 9% if it does not" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/4).
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