Manchester United Move Their Share Issue to the US

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Manchester United Move Their Share Issue to the US
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

For all those anti-Glazer supporters who predict doom and gloom, it's time to hide behind the sofa again.

The planned Singapore flotation has been moved to the US.

Despite the period of almost unmatched success since the takeover and the massive commercial contract wins that dwarf their global rivals, there are some so-called "fans" who continue to bash the club and manager because of their American ownership.

Today, however, newswires are carrying the story that the parent company is moving its float to the US—presumably NASDAQ:

Originally, it had been hoped that a float in Singapore would bring a wide shareholders group of enthusiastic fans, including Indonesia and China, as well as fresh capital to the company.

That original IPO was expected to generate funds not only to pay off the outstanding debt, but also to create a transfer and development pool that could be enhanced every year by generated profits.

There is no reason why the same result cannot be achieved in the US, although shares are more likely to be bought by professional and savvy investors than fans.

However, if United's latest commercial partnership with General Motors is anything to go by, the issue may also tap into a wider audience of goodwill not only in the US, but also from overseas investors attracted by a sports/major brand/dollar denominated investment.

Shock horror. GM have ditched sponsorship of the Super Bowl in preference for United. City could never achieve that...

 

Laying the "United Have No Cash" Bogey

I have been utterly fed up by the avalanche of articles and comments constantly stating with authority that United have no cash to spend. 

The latest justification for this prognostication has been that the Glazers have sucked £500m out of the club through debt and interest payments. Yes, such payments have been made, and yes, the Glazers as owners have benefited from what thousands of companies do all over the world when taken over by private capital.

So then the protesters claim that the fans are suffering as a result. Well, ticket prices have been frozen for next season and are still well below those of other top Premier League teams.

Meanwhile, nobody ever mentions the massive increase in commercial revenue over the last five years.

And no, I'm not a Glazer apologist; I'm an unpaid freelance journalist reveling in the principle of free speech.

Those who say the Glazers have prevented Sir Alex from spending money in the transfer market cite the debt repayments a a justification.

First, 11 million people in the UK have borrowed several multiples of their income by way of mortgage; others think nothing of borrowing to buy cars or stack their credit cards, but somehow think it is obscene for the parent company of United to owe money.

Sir Alex has chosen not to spend money, and with debt interest at nine percent-plus, it is a no-brainer to use it to repay rather than leave it in the bank at one quarter of one percent.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

But to state categorically that the Glazers are preventing spending is to make Sir Alex out to be a liar and a Glazer apologist, as he has stated categorically for at least a couple of years that he will only spend money where he thinks there is value.

One recent article even suggested that United would not be able to afford to buy Kagawa! Well, my friend, they did, and they bought Powell and Henriquez and they haven't finished yet.

And do you seriously think Sir Alex has to go with the begging bowl to the Glazers? No. David Gill and Sir Alex run this particular ship and, unless they make a dreadful mistake, will continue to do so.

So then people somehow imply the Glazers have caused United to finish behind City.

Sorry, but I frankly think Sheikh Mansour's spending is indefensibly obscene in a world where millions of people on his continent are dying of starvation. 

By inflating salaries alone, he is rewarding some of his players with more in a day than most Britons earn in a year. 

And no, there is no politics of envy going on here. Someone has to make a stand to stop this wrong set of values and obscenity in spending to create relatively little economic value. Why aren't protesters marching against Mansour, Abramovich and highly-paid footballers who demand £100,000 a week net, rather than bankers?

Yes, United pay inflated salaries just to stay in the game, but they aren't losing money like most of the clubs in English football and, having offered Nasri £135,000 a week, refused to match City's £40,000 extra. 

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

 

A New Dawn

Manchester United came second with the most points ever despite nine times the number of injury days of City. Sir Alex is doing a great job.

When the US IPO goes ahead, United will have no debt, and whoever is manager will have a steady flow of transfer funds annually to compete with anyone.

Of course, it will be a success, because United have not only the most valuable football, or even sports, brands in the world, it is one of the most visible of all brands in the world.

With 659 million fans worldwide and more than 10 times as many followers of City on Facebook, together with burgeoning commercial revenues and the biggest companies in the world clamouring to be associated, we can look forward to an exciting, stable and successful future. 

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