initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Manchester United (MANU) prices at $14 a share, below IPO range

Manchester United Ltd. (MANU) priced 16.7 million shares at $14 a piece for its initial public offering late Thursday.

That's well below the expected range of $16 to $20, but many analysts thought that range too high in the run-up to the offering. Half the proceeds will go to help paying down Man United's sizable debt and the other half will go to the owners of the team, the Glazer family.

Manchester United fans hold up a protest banner before a homefield soccer match.

Underwriters will also have the option of selling up to an additional 2.5 million shares with those proceeds going to the Glazers. The stock will begin trading Friday on the NYSE. While the IPO will still go ahead on Friday, the anti-Glazer crowd will at least have something to crow about – late Thursday, the club said it was pricing its shares at $14 each, below the $16-$20 range the owners were hoping for.

 What has so outraged fans – aside from the continued Glazer ownership, of course – is that the Americans have backtracked on a promise that all the money raised from a stock listing would go to pay down the roughly $650 million debt the club carries from their leveraged purchase of the team. The new plan will see only half the money used to pay down the debt, leaving the rest for Malcolm Glazer and his sonsto feast on. This isn’t the only way the owners will benefit: As the Guardian points out, the listing will put a clear value on the club should they wish to sell, one that, even at a lower share price, is considerably more than the rumored offers of about $1.6 billion they have received in the past couple of years.

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