Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Glazers set to raise $150m by selling Man U shares

Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher (24) celebrates with his teammates after  scoring the winning kick in a penalty kick shootout during  a soccer game at the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Landover, Md. Manchester United won 5-3 in penalty kicks. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher (24) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winning kick in a penalty kick shootout during a soccer game at the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Landover, Md. Manchester United won 5-3 in penalty kicks. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Manchester United's American owners are set to raise around $150 million by selling more of their club shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

The English Premier League club announced Wednesday that the Glazer family is selling 8 million shares with reduced voting rights, which equates to around 5 percent of the business. The Glazers, who maintain control of the club, previously sold 10 percent of their holding via a stock listing in 2012.

The announcement comes two months after Malcom Glazer, who led the family takeover of United in 2005, died. His six grown children control the club.

The latest share sale was announced on a day when United shares closed at $19.31, with the Glazers cashing in at a time of renewed confidence at the club.

Former Netherlands and Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal has taken charge following a dismal first season of the post-Alex Ferguson era under David Moyes that saw the team finish seventh and fail to qualify for the Champions League.

United also signed a 10-year kit sponsorship deal earlier this month with Adidas, announcing that it would be worth an overall $1.3 billion from 2015.

But United has disclosed to potential investors in the new share prospectus that failure to play in the Champions League for two or more consecutive seasons would see the annual Adidas payments drop after the first year by 30 percent to $89 million. Conversely, the fee could rise by up to $7 million each year if the team wins the Premier League, Champions League or FA Cup.

Ferguson left after 26 years as manager, winning 13 Premier League titles and the Champions League twice during an unprecedented period of domination. A loss of Champions League revenue from UEFA is already set to cost the club around $60 million next season.

"Our success and many achievements over the last 20 years does not necessarily mean that we will continue to be successful in the future, whether as a result of changes in player personnel, coaching staff or otherwise," United said in the share prospectus. "A downturn in the performance of our first team could adversely affect our ability to attract and retain coaches and players."

United said success on the pitch is key to "the value and strength of our brand and reputation," with a global array of sponsorship deals helping the club generate an estimated revenue of around $727 million for the year to June 30, 2014.

Claiming to have 659 million followers around the world has helped to drive up turnover in recent years, but United has conceded that "our popularity in certain countries or regions may depend, at least in part, on fielding certain players from those countries or regions."

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Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

ROB HARRIS The Associated Press
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