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Manchester United is planning to raise about $100m through an initial public offering in the US – much less than what it had been hoping to raise in Singapore.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late on Tuesday night the football club did not reveal how many shares it would offer or at what price, making it difficult to establish a valuation.
The Glazer family, United’s US-based owners who purchased the club in a £790m leveraged buyout in 2005, had been seeking to establish a valuation of £1.7bn and raise $1bn in a Singapore offering as recently as last August. But an Asian IPO was put on hold when underwriters led by Morgan Stanley warned against proceeding with an offering in volatile markets that have forced Graff Diamonds and Formula One to pull or delay Asian IPOs.
The $100m, which is a so-called “place holder value”, could yet be revised upwards.
The Glazers aim to keep significant control of the club through a dual-class share structure that will give the family’s class B shares 10 times more voting power than publicly traded class A shares. The public company will be incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
The Glazers have been heavily criticised by Manchester United fans for loading the club with debt, and the filing said debt servicing costs for the nine months to the end of March were £35m.
The filing showed that the company had burnt through £125m of cash in the same nine months after failing to qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League, a lucrative European club competition. That left the club with just £25.6m of cash at the end of the first quarter.
The club has been categorised as an “emerging growth company” to take advantage of provisions under the recently passed US Jobs Act, which allows companies with annual revenues of less than $1bn to delay some financial reporting requirements for up to five years.
The company said it would make use of a rule allowing it to provide only two years of audited financial statements and an exemption from a requirement for an auditor to attest the management’s assessment of its internal financial reporting standards.
The Glazers’ plans to list shifted to the US last month after New York-based investment bank Jefferies persuaded the family it could pull off an offer despite turbulent markets. Jefferies will lead the offering along with Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase, with Morgan Stanley is not involved in the deal.
The company will not pay a dividend on listed shares “in the foreseeable future”, according to the IPO filing.
United reported profits before tax of £15.7m in the nine months to March 31, up 32 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. Net revenues were £245.8m for the period, or 6.1 per cent higher than the year before.