Glazer could net $50m from Man United shares

Ed Glazer is the fourth eldest of the family that owns Man United
Ed Glazer is the fourth eldest of the family that owns Man United
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ONE of the sons of late Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer is selling down his stake in the club in a move that could net him $50 million (£32m)

Glazer’s six children took an equal split of the shares following his death in May at the age of 85. The family has already sold one tranche, leaving them with a total holding in the Old Trafford side of about 83 per cent.

In a statement released by the club, Edward Glazer said he planed to sell three million “class A ordinary shares,” with the offer ending on Friday.

Glazer, a co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation, stands to recoup about $45m, and none of the proceeds will go to the club. The underwriter of the offering will have an option to purchase up to an additional 450,000 shares from Glazer.

As the fourth-eldest sibling, Glazer has had no role in running Manchester United, although he is on the board of the family’s American football team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The takeover of Manchester United Football Club in 2005 by billionaire Malcolm Glazer provoked the fury of a large number of its fans. They resented the prospect of Glazer control and feared that, by incurring heavy debts to help buy the club, Glazer might ultimately undermine one of the sporting world’s most celebrated franchises.

United, however, enjoyed major successes under his ownership – at least until the appointment of manager David Moyes and his subsequent sacking this year, before he had completed a single season in charge.

The Glazers had held Manchester United privately, but they took it public in 2012, floating it in New York. The latest sale will leave the family with a stake of about 80 per cent, although they could control the club with less than 50 per cent thanks to the structure that gives ten times more voting rights to their “class B” shares.

Shares in Manchester United suffered during the last year due to the team’s underperformance on the pitch, which meant it missed out on a lucrative European Champions League place this season.

However, the stock was given a lift when investment firm Baron Capital started building a stake. It eventually acquired almost a quarter of all shares available on the stock market, but analysts pointed out that seeing as a takeover was impossible due to the Glazers’ dominance, the firm was most likely just taking advantage of the dip because it saw a long-term growth opportunity.

As well as regularly filling its Old Trafford ground, the company had sponsorship revenue of £135.8m last year, while retail, merchandising and licensing takings totalled £37.5m.

It recently reached a ten-year agreement with Adidas with respect to its “global technical sponsorship and dual-branded licensing rights”, beginning with the 2015-16 season worth a minimum of £750m over the term of the agreement.

Meanwhile, broadcasting revenues hit £135.8m last year, with payments coming in from its own wholly-owned television channel as well as television rights relating to the Premier League, Champions League and other competitions.

Manchester United had total debts of £362.2m at the end of September, according to a share prospectus issued by the club.

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