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Dirty Tackle

Experts agree: Manchester United’s IPO is a terrible investment

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Almost immediately after announcing a seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet worth an estimated £200 million ($312.6M USD), the Glazer family pushed ahead with its much maligned plan to unleash a Manchester United IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. From the first rumor of the move, fans and media have been united in questioning it. And now financial experts agree that it appears to be a blatant attempt to dupe investors into giving the club's unpopular owners/debt masters their money for very little (if anything) in return.

In the video above, Andy Green of the well-respected andersred blog talks to Sky News about how Alex Ferguson's blind loyalty to the Glazers is being financially rewarded, that the Glazers chose to list the IPO on the NYSE because their shares would hold far more value than those of all other investors ("They'll sell 10 percent of the club and they will keep 98 percent of the votes") and that the valuation of club is very much inflated.

Guardian finance writer Nils Pratley seems to agree that the Glazers are living in a narcissistic fantasy land.

[T]he Glazers hope buyers can be found for Man Utd at a price tag of almost $3bn (£1.9bn). Six times revenues! That's a rating associated with go-go technology stocks where income doubles every couple of years. At Man United, despite the Glazer camp's boasts about greater commercial adventure and bigger sponsorship deals, revenues have advanced by a grand total of 14% over the course of the past three years.

But, of course, [there] are other reasons to ignore the listing. There's no dividend for shareholders or plans to pay one. V; voting rights are unequal, with the family hoarding the class of stock with supercharged powers. And the club will still be indebted to the tune of £345m even after £80m or so is raised to pay off a slice of borrowings with a new share issue.

Naturally, there will be a number of Man United fans who ignore all recommendations to the contrary and buy up these shares just so they can say they own a piece of their beloved club. Even if the Glazers are laughing at them every time they do. Which they probably will be.

Video via The Footy Blog

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