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Volume 7 No. 149

Finance

José Mourinho and his staff received £19.6M payoff from ManU.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ManU made a payoff of almost £20M ($25.6M) to former Manager José Mourinho and his staff, the club’s half-yearly accounts revealed, according to Paul Wilson of the London GUARDIAN. The manager was sacked in December after 17 league games in his third season, with a contract due to expire at the end of the '19-20 campaign. Figures released on Thursday list a sum of £19.6M ($25M) as "an exceptional item relating to compensation to the former manager and certain members of the coaching staff for loss of office." Goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro, scout Ricardo Formosinho, analyst Giovanni Cerra and fitness coaches Stefano Rapetti and Carlos Lalín are "expected to have received payment," though it is likely most of the money went to Mourinho, who was earning £15M ($19M) a year at Old Trafford. Mourinho said that he is "not finished with club management yet" (GUARDIAN, 2/14). The PA's Matt Slater reported the £19.6M is less than what was "initially reported" in some quarters but four times the amount ManU had to pay predecessors David Moyes and Louis van Gaal when they were fired in '14 and '16, respectively. The severance pay, however, is the "only bad grade in an otherwise glowing report," with the club posting record revenues of £208.6M for the second quarter, which translate into EBITDA of £104.3M and an operating profit of £44M. The club’s wage bill for the quarter, which ended on Dec. 31, rose to £77.9M, an increase of £8.2M (11.8%) compared to the corresponding period a year ago. Commercial revenue, "thanks to new sponsors" such as Remington, inched up to £65.9M, although the retail and merchandising part of that equation "fell slightly," and matchday proceeds increased by £2.1M (5.7%) from 12 months ago (PA, 2/14).

BOOSTED REVENUE: In London, Murad Ahmed reported a new TV contract for the Champions League "boosted" revenue at ManU. The "main reason" behind the increase is the start of a broadcasting deal signed by UEFA, which will ensure that close to €1.95B ($2.2B) is being shared among clubs participating in this season's tournament (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/14).

London-based private equity group Bridgepoint is in talks with its investors to "shift its stake" in a company it has held for more than a decade from one fund to another, "bypassing a sale to rivals," according to Espinoza & Massoudi of the FINANCIAL TIMES. A transfer of Dorna, a Spanish sports management company that has the exclusive rights to promote and manage MotoGP and the Superbike World Championship, "is not guaranteed and talks are continuing," several people involved in the process said. Bridgepoint, which bought Dorna in '06 in a deal that valued the company at about €500M, declined to comment. It comes after Bridgepoint appointed bankers at Lazard late last year to "explore a potential sale," which led some of the largest private equity groups, including CVC, Eurazeo, Blackstone, General Atlantic and KKR, to "express interest in the asset." In some cases, these groups made indicative bids, which Bridgepoint used to set a price for a potential sale of Dorna from a fund it raised in '08 to the flagship fund it raised in '17, according to several people with direct knowledge of the talks. Investors in Bridgepoint's '08 fund will receive about three times their money "if the deal is completed," a source said (FT, 2/13).

Puma forecast a "slowdown in the pace of sales and profit" growth this year after its "bumper" fourth-quarter earnings, which were "boosted by high-profile partnerships" with rapper Jay-Z and singer Rihanna, according to Elliott Kime of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The company’s "eye-catching" RS-X shoes helped full-year sales climb 17%, "stripping out currency moves," while operating profits "jumped by more than twice that amount." Even taking into account "currency headwinds," sales were 12% higher than in '17. Puma said that sales would rise 10% this year on a currency-adjusted basis while operating profits "would be up by as much as" 23%. The world’s third-largest sportswear manufacturer "made a similar sales prediction last year." But a "savvy" social media campaign and celebrity endorsements prompted the group to "upgrade its outlook during the year," helping it to 20% year-on-year sales growth in the first quarter (FT, 2/14).