For all the Manchester United fans, the club is up for sale! Before there’s any confusion, the club has launched itself on the New York Stock Exchange, Monday with 16.7 million shares which is equivalent to 10 percent of the club.
Sources suggest that the share price could range between $16 and $20. The club is hoping this IPO (Initial Public Offering) would raise more than $300. From what reports and information suggest, the raised money will be split between the club and its owners, the Florida based Glazer family.
The Glazers have been amidst much controversy and faced resentment from fans due to their leveraged buyout in 2005. Reports suggest that as of March 31st, the club was $663 under debt. This has largely been due to the complex and difficult financial deals used to buy the club that took a toll on the clubs financial health.
"Manchester United today commenced its initial public offering of 16,666,667 Class A Ordinary Shares," said a statement issued by Sard Verbinnen & Co. Sard Verbinnen & Co is the public relations firm that has been hired by the club to manage the IPO of shares.
"The Class A Ordinary Shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and will trade under the symbol "MANU.""
This move has irked the fans as reports reveal that a hefty sum of the IPO proceedings will be going to the Glazers family. MUST (Manchester United Supporters Trust), a large group of the club’s fans have been very critical of how the Glazers have run the club ever since gaining control in 2005. In an email written to Forbes, MUST’s chief executive wrote that the original filing stated that all proceeds of the IPO would be reserved for paying off the club’s accumulated debt. However the revised filings show an altogether different picture revealing half of the IPO proceeds will be only making the Glazer family wealthier. This would be detrimental for the club in the backdrop of a situation where the club is under heavy debt and struggling financially.
How the IPO is received is another story. But for now the fans have not taken well to this news.
Just earlier today, the club proclaimed a new sponsorship deal with General Motors. Under the new deal, the club would be displaying the Chevrolet brand on the front of United’s shirts from the start of the 2014-15 season.