initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Manchester United files for IPO of up to $100 million

Manchester United, the legendary English soccer club, filed  with U.S. regulators to raise $100 million in an initial public offering of its Class A common stock.

The move by the team's owners, the Glazer family, which also owns the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wasn't unexpected, but the filing provided a window into the finances of one of the most popular sports brands in the world.

According to the filing, United had $520 million in revenue last year. However, the team is also carrying some $664 million in debt, a sum that critics have said is preventing Manchester United from acquiring the top players in the world.

The plan comes after a disappointing season for United, which has won 60 trophies during its 134-year history. The team was beaten out for the English Premier League title by crosstown rival Manchester City and was eliminated from the European club championship before the final knockout rounds of the tournament.

While the team is going through with the public offering, the Glazers intend to remain in full control. The team didn't set a launch date, stock symbol, price range or offering size, specifying only that there will be two share classes, Class A and Class B, with Class B controlling most of the voting rights. The team plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

"The interests of our principal shareholder might not coincide with the interests of the other holders of our capital stock," the filing warned.

Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic (C) lifts the trophy with teammates after their FA Community Shield soccer match against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London August 7, 2011.

Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported last month that the football club had dropped its plans for an Asian listing in favor of a U.S. listing.
After first eyeing a Hong Kong IPO, the former English soccer champions had planned a $1 billion listing in Singapore in the second half of last year before putting the plans on hold because of market turmoil.
Manchester United told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a preliminary prospectus on Tuesday that Jefferies, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan, BofA Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank Securities are underwriting the IPO.
United, which has been English league champions a record 19 times and features players such as England's Wayne Rooney, intends to list its Class A common shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
The club intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to repay debt.
The filing did not reveal how many shares it plans to sell or their expected price.
The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different.

Manchester United traces its origins to 1878, when its predecessor Newton Heath LYR was formed by railyard workers. it changed its name in 1902 when a brewery owner invested in the team.

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