Manchester United ownership: Glazer family ready to sell club | Football news

Glazer family ready to sell Manchester United.

The American owners are ready to listen to offers for the club after 17 years dominated by fan opposition and poor form on the pitch.

If the club – worth around £5bn – is sold, it will be bought by American investors.

A statement from Manchester United confirmed plans to identify “strategic alternatives” and said the process would consider a number of options “including new investments in the club, sale or other transactions”. other translations related to the company”.

sky news previously exclusively revealed that the Glazer family is preparing to announce its intention to consider potential outside sources of investment. that could include a comprehensive auction of the most famous football club in the world.

According to football finance expert Kieran Maguire, Manchester United’s share price immediately jumped 17 per cent, adding almost $400 million (£336.4 million) to the club’s market capitalization.

Man Utd statement

Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU), one of the most historic and successful sports clubs in the world, today announces that the Company’s Board of Directors (“Board”) is initiating the process of discovering strategic alternatives to the club.

The process is designed to enhance the future growth of the club, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.

As part of this process, the Board of Directors will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investments in the club, sale or other transactions involving the Company. This will include the evaluation of a number of initiatives to strengthen the club, including redevelopment of the stadium and infrastructure, and the expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a large scale. Globally, each initiative is in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams. teams and benefit fans and other stakeholders.

Co-chairs and CEOs Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said: “The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers. As we seek to continue to build on the club’s successful history, the Board of Directors has authorized a thorough assessment of strategic alternatives.

“We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and Manchester United maximize the key development opportunities available to the club today and in the future. Throughout this process, we will be fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders and various stakeholders.”

The Raine Group, which facilitated the sale of Chelsea in the summer, is acting as United’s exclusive financial advisor, with Rothschild and Co performing a similar role over the family’s shareholders. Glazer.

The announcement that a review of financing options could include a sale would signal the end of years of speculation about whether the Glazers could be persuaded to ease the burden on an already established club. experienced an almost irreversible decline in football over the past decade or not.

United have not won a Premier League title since 2013 and have sacked a series of coaches following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Manchester United have confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo has left the club by mutual agreement

More recently, the club has been embroiled in a legal battle with Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview in which he questioned United’s ambitions and criticized the Glazers’ approach to owning it.

On Tuesday, United announce Ronaldo’s departure “with immediate effect”.

What are the potential outcomes?

It’s still possible that the Glazer family, which took control of United in 2005 in a £790m deal financed mainly with debt, chose not to sell.

A partial sale to new investors, with funds raised to finance a long-overdue Old Trafford redevelopment, is one potential outcome of this process.

The Glazers have acknowledged the need for new infrastructure investment to transform the stadium into a truly world-class venue, while also requiring substantial sums of money to help the men’s team once again compete. compete at the top of the European league.

United’s valuation in a sale would certainly exceed the market capitalization of about $2.15 billion implied by its share price during Tuesday’s trading on the New York Stock Exchange. .

Manchester United supporters at Old Trafford hold a banner reading 'Glazers Out' in the stands in April.  Photo: AP
Manchester United supporters at Old Trafford hold a banner reading ‘Glazers Out’ in the stands in April

Reports in recent months have speculated that any transaction would need to value the club between £5bn and £9bn to convince the owners to sell.

The Glazers listed a minority stake in the company in 2012 but retain overwhelming control through a bipartite share structure, meaning they hold nearly all of the voting rights.

For more than 18 months, the club has promised to introduce a modest fan ownership scheme that will give fans shares with a Glazer-like voting structure.

However, the initiative has yet to be launched despite a pledge to have it operational by the start of the 2021-22 season.

It was among a number of commitments made by Joel Glazer, United’s co-chairman, after the defeat of the European Super League (ESL), in which the club played a key role.

Manchester United were one of six Premier League teams to agree to participate in the project, which collapsed within hours of its official launch amid acrimonious public and political turmoil.

In May 2021, United fans were forced to postpone their home game against rivals Liverpool after protesting against ESL and the Glazer family.

Manchester United fans protest before the match against Liverpool at Old Trafford in August 2022
Manchester United fans protest before the match against Liverpool at Old Trafford in August 2022

‘Love United, hate Glazer’ has become a familiar chorus during their tenure, with supporters criticizing the lack of investment in the club’s infrastructure while owners have cited shares. worth hundreds of millions of pounds because they continue to advertise. successful.

If a formal sales process is initiated, attention will turn to the identities of potential buyers.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire Ineos who has supported United since he was a child, said in August that he was keen to buy the club but later suggested that English football’s elite names were overvalued. high.

Billionaires from around the world will be linked with the bids, as will sovereign investors looking to emulate the types of takeovers seen at Newcastle United – now owned by investors Saudi state-backed private sector – and Paris Saint-Germain, owned by Qatar.

There will also be speculation that the Red Knights, a consortium led by former United executive and top economist Lord O’Neill, could revive an attempt initiated in 2010 to gain control. club.

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Football finance expert Kieran Maguire claims Fenway Sports Group could reap a 14 times investment in Liverpool if they decide to sell the club.

Notably, the possibility of a Manchester United auction comes as Fenway Sports Group, the owner of Liverpool, is also considering selling the club in whole or in part.

The simultaneous sale of two of England’s so-called ‘big Six’ teams – the others being Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur – would be unprecedented.

One analyst says the timing shows some investors believe the value of top clubs could peak, especially amid tough global economic forecasts in the coming years. next year.

United’s announcement was also made during a World Cup boosted by Gulf oil dollars, underscoring the changing financials of the global football industry.

Analysis: ‘A huge development at Manchester United’

Sky Sports News reporter Ben Ransom:

“It’s a huge development when you consider the fact that the Glazers, since they took over in 2005, have always said when asked that they are fully committed to this model of Manchester United ownership and are committed to with the future.

“When you consider that just getting to the M62, which is a similar situation at Liverpool – two models of American ownership that are likely to find a way to get the clubs going – it’s quite a remarkable moment. .

“And it’s a real insight, I guess, into how they see the future and the potential difficulties in the future when it comes to challenging the top of the Premier League.”

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