Manchester United cleared for $1bn floatation on Singapore Stock Exchange

By Tom Midlane

Manchester United have received permission to float the company on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

It is thought the Glazer family are looking to raise around $1bn (£632m) by selling 25-30% of the parent company’s shares.

The club have not yet publicly acknowledged the floatation plans, but permission for the share sale was granted on Friday, and United are now free to open dialogue with potential investors.

Sources close to the discussions have suggested that the float will involve a dual share-class structure that waters down the voting rights of those who buy shares and allows the Glazers to maintain control.

It is thought that two-thirds of United’s offering will be in preferred shares, which may carry at least double the dividend of ordinary stock while lacking voting rights.

So-called dual-class share structures came under fire by News Corp shareholders during the hacking scandal, many of whom argued they had little influence over the company’s corporate governance, and were left with no recourse other than to sell the stock. 

United want to complete the process, called an initial public offering (IPO), by the end of the year.

This will start with presentations to “cornerstone investors” who are likely to take the largest proportion of the shares.

A global roadshow will then take go on tour with United’s executives setting out the vision for the future of the business, with the final step being the publication of a prospectus and a public offering of shares.

There are serious question marks over the Glazers’ valuation of the club and the volatility in global markets may mean the club ultimately reconsider the timing of the listing.

Nevertheless, the Glazers are believed to be bullish about the club’s economic prospects – United this month posted record full-year operating profits of £110.9m – and analysts believe a club of United’s prestige should not have a problem attracting the investors needed to see the issue fully subscribed.


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