Bloomberg News

Manchester United Said to Revisit Plans for 2012 Singapore Initial Offer

March 09, 2012

Manchester United Ltd., the record 19-time English soccer champion, is revisiting plans for an initial public offering in Singapore as stock markets recover, said five people with knowledge of the matter. Photographer: Paul Thomas/Bloomberg

Manchester United Ltd., the record 19-time English soccer champion, is revisiting plans for an initial public offering in Singapore as stock markets recover, said five people with knowledge of the matter. Photographer: Paul Thomas/Bloomberg

Manchester United Ltd (MNU)., the record 19-time English soccer champion, is revisiting plans for an initial public offering in Singapore as stock markets recover, said five people with knowledge of the matter.

United and its bankers restarted discussions about 10 days ago, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because the deliberations are private. The IPO may take place this year, two people said.

The soccer club received the Singapore stock exchange’s approval in September to raise about $1 billion in an IPO, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. The process then stalled as volatile stock markets made equity sales more difficult to pull off, bankers said.

United will have to file new financial statements to the Singapore bourse should it opt to proceed with the IPO, the people said. The company may still pick Hong Kong over Singapore for the offering, according to one person.

Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index has gained 12 percent since Dec. 31 after tumbling 17 percent in 2011, the biggest annual decline in three years. The city-state hasn’t had any IPOs of more than $100 million since October, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

United hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) as bookrunners for the IPO together with Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), people with knowledge of the matter said last year. Philip Townsend, a spokesman for the club, declined to comment.

The soccer club’s pretax profit in the year ended June 30 was 29.7 million pounds ($46.9 million), compared with a loss of 15 million pounds the year before. It’s the second time in six years that the club has been profitable. United’s U.S. owners, the Glazer family, bought the team in 2005 for 790 million pounds.

United’s Chief Executive Officer David Gill in October told the Sunday Telegraph that the potential share sale would be “beneficial.”

The club lost the first leg of its Europa League knock out game to Spain’s Athletic Bilbao 3-2 at Old Trafford last night. It will need to win the return in Spain to stand a chance of making the quarterfinals.

United is playing in Europe’s second-tier competition after being eliminated from the Champions League in the group stages for only the third time in 17 years. Last season it broke Liverpool’s record of 18 English championships.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at jkoh38@bloomberg.net; Fox Hu in Hong Kong at fhu7@bloomberg.net; Zijing Wu in London at zwu17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net


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