x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Manchester United owners face more fan anger after over IPO debt plans

Fans describe plans to use just half of the proposed Dh1.1bn share offering to pay off the English Premier League side's massive debt as 'a slap in the face' for supporters.

Manchester United's iconic Old Trafford stadium
Manchester United's iconic Old Trafford stadium

MANCHESTER, UK // Manchester United's owners have been struck with a fresh wave of criticism after indicating only half the proceeds of their planned IPO will be used to reduce the club's massive debt.

The Glazer family issued a notice of intent yesterday evening of their plans to sell just over 10 per cent of Manchester United on the New York Stock Exchange, raising around $300million (Dh1.1bn).

Previously, it was suggested that the entire sum would be used to pay off United's massive debt, that currently stands at over £400million.

However, the prospectus that has been released to accompany the announcement indicates only half the money will be used in that way, with the rest going directly to the family.

The news drew an immediate stinging rebuke from fans who have opposed the Glazer family's involvement in the club.

A spokesman for the Manchester United Supporters Trust described the news as a 'slap in the face', telling the city's Evening News: "Supporters are going to be very angry about this.

"There is now no doubt that this is bad for Manchester United supporters, Manchester United FC and any investors gullible enough to pay the inflated price they've attached to inferior shares."

The news came on a day United confirmed a new seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with US car giant Chevrolet, which takes effect from 2014.

However, critics will also point to the fact the club are yet to post end-of-year accounts which show the exact amount bowing out of the Champions League group stage cost them.

"Manchester United today commenced its initial public offering of 16,666,667 Class A Ordinary Shares," said a statement issued from New York by Sard Verbinnen & Co, the public relations firm enlisted by United for the IPO.

"Manchester United is offering 8,333,334 Class A Ordinary Shares and the selling shareholder is offering 8,333,333 Class A Ordinary Shares.

"The underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 2,500,000 Class A Ordinary Shares from the selling shareholder.

"The Class A Ordinary Shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and will trade under the symbol "MANU"."


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