Premier League media rights entice billionaire investor George Soros to buy £26million shares in Manchester United

By Dean Wilkins

Millions of Manchester United shares were bought by billionaire investor George Soros from the New York Stock exchange, it was announced yesterday.

The 82-year-old – whose company Soros Fund Management LLC is valued at £16billion – purchased 3.1million Class A shares in the club.

The deal is worth £26million and gives him a two percent total share of the club but his catergory of shares give him less voting power as United’s shares continue to fall, ending the day 6.7 percent lower than their floatation value.

Philip Hall, a partner at New York-based investment bank Inner Circle Sports who helped Fenway Sports Group’s acquisition of Liverpool, said: “This could be a play by Soros on the strength of Manchester United’s brand and the English Premier League’s growing media rights.

“The domestic rights are set to increase 70 percent for the 13/14 season and the international media rights, set to be announced in late October or early November, are also expected to come in at a very robust uplift.”

Mr Soros became world renowned 20 years ago when he successfully bet on the devaluation of the British pound, earning him $1billion in the process and earning him the nickname ‘The man who broke the Bank of England’.

The Reds floated on the American stock market earlier this month, valuing the club at more than £1.4bn and making it the biggest sports club in the world.

United has been controlled since 2005 by the Glazer family, the billionaire US sports investors who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers American football franchise.

About half of the £150million that the club raised from its flotation is being used to pay off the club’s debts – the other half will go straight into the hands of the Glazers.

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