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Manchester United cuts price for US IPO

August 10, 2012

NEW YORK: Britain’s world-renowned football club Manchester United cut the price of its US share launch yesterday, slashing the amount it hoped to raise to US$233 million from US$300 million.

The fabled club, mired in debt since 2005 after a heavily leveraged takeover by Miami-based investors the Glazer family, lowered its price for the 16.7 million shares on offer to US$14 from the originally planned US$16-US$20 range.

The company gave no reason for cutting the price, but the IPO has come amid some doubts about the team’s ability to boost profits as long as it continues to carry a hefty debt burden.

Investors have also become wary about aggressively priced initial public offerings after the much-promoted Facebook launch soured, with the social networking giant’s shares sinking to nearly half of the IPO price just two months after the May 18 issue.

The US$14 price was still higher than the US$10 a share valuation put on the company by Morningstar analysts.

Critics had assailed the Glazers’ plan to allocate just half the IPO receipts to reducing the team’s current £423 million (US$660 million) debt burden.

The other half will go to the Glazers themselves, who are contributing 8.33 million shares to the IPO.

In addition, despite putting 10% of the shares on sale, the Glazers will retain about 97% voting control of the listed company, the Caymans-registered Manchester United Ltd.


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