Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Manchester United on New York Stock Exchange? Soccer Club a Start-Up; Emerging Growth Company
REPUBLICAN REDEFINED ^ | August 4, 2012 | T Christopher

Posted on 08/04/2012 11:18:19 AM PDT by T Christopher

The average American sports enthusiast typically struggles to come to grips with the fact that "sport" exists outside the realm of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA.  Check out the reaction every time Forbes throws out a list of the Most Valuable Sports Franchises or Highest Paid Athletes if you don't believe me.  The fact that soccer even makes the list(s) is mind-boggling to some.  Because of that, it should come as no surprise that many just don't get the buzz around Manchester United's latest move; or even know there is in fact a "buzz" in the first place.

That aside, the English football giant is about to venture into the world of financial scrutiny and speculation that Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook stumbled into some weeks ago leaving many supporters worried the club may find a similar fate.

WSJ:  English soccer club Manchester United's shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange late next week. The company is aiming to sell 16.7 million shares in its initial public offering at a price between $16 to $20 each. The shares are set to price Thursday.

Manchester United, one of the most successful teams in professional soccer, would be the first sports teams to go public in the U.S. in quite some time. The last team to do so was the Cleveland Indians Baseball Co., which launched in 1998, according to data tracker Dealogic, and was later taken private.

Manchester called off plans for a $1 billion initial public offering in Singapore last year amid volatile markets.

Just in case you need a quick summary, check out the Roger Bennett piece at  Here's a taste...

Roger Bennett @ ESPN:  Until the 1980s, English football was run by an innocuous assortment of local businessmen who demonstrated a distinct lack of national ambition. Their financial model amounted to little more than "putting bums on seats" for home games. The creation of the English Premier League in 1992 changed everything, triggering a gluttonous gold rush. Some of the most sophisticated global sports business minds poured into English football to exploit the new frontiers of domestic, international and digital rights, and the exploding universe of commercial opportunities.

On Aug. 10, this global gold rush will break new ground as the Florida-based Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, seeks to sell 10 percent of the club as an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Three months ago, Manchester United was transformed into an "emerging growth company" registered in the Cayman Islands. Now, the Old Trafford club is poised to become the ticker symbol MANU, traded on New York's Big Board.

The IPO will make 16.7 million shares available at an expected price of between $16 and $20, raising approximately $300 million, and driving the club's total valuation to $3 billion. It's a remarkable sum, twice the $1.2 billion the Glazers paid to acquire the club in 2005 when they took the club off the London Stock Exchange and saddled it with debt, last reported at $656 million, in a leveraged buy-out.

I think it's safe to say not everyone is exactly thrilled with the move...

Manchester United supporters opposed to the flotation of the English football club in New York called on Friday for a boycott of sponsors' products to put pressure on the Glazer family to ditch the plan.

The call risks embarrassing the club just days after it signed a record-breaking shirt sponsorship deal with U.S. auto company General Motors.

"The boycott strategy is intended to send a loud and clear message to the Glazer family and club sponsors that without the support and purchasing power of the fans - the global strength of the Manchester United brand doesn't actually exist," the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) said in a statement

MUST has accused the American Glazers of hurting the team's performance by saddling it with debt in a 790 million pound ($1.23 billion) takeover in 2005.

Reservations not just reserved to fans...

The projected pricing range of $16-20 a share has also shocked many analysts, including Guardian financial editor Nils Pratley. "Six times revenues," he exclaimed. "That's a rating associated with go-go technology stocks where income doubles every couple of years."

"They are not a good investment at the rumored sale price as there are so many red flags on the balance sheet and in their dual-class voting structure," he explained before referring to the poor performance of the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Indians and Florida Panthers during their brief experiences on the public market. Aama added, "historically, sports franchises have not proven to be good investments in the United States."

Here's another scary tidbit...

In April 2012, President Barack Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. JOBS is actually an acronym for "Jumpstart Our Business Startups," and, yes, this is oddly related to United's public offering.

The JOBS Act was partially intended to ease the regulatory burden on small companies. Notable among the key provisions was one that exempts small businesses from parts of the Sarbanes-Oxley law, which was passed in the wake of the accounting scandals at several large corporations (Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, etc.). Its basic goal: increase requirements for financial reporting so that such scandals wouldn't happen again. "Small" for JOBS, however, means "less than $1 billion" in revenue.

For that reason, Manchester United is considered "small" (technically, an "emerging growth company") and thus isn't subject to Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley, a provision that requires companies to have an assessment of internal controls. Basically it's management saying that, yes, their financial statements are indeed reliable and not works of light fiction.

What does that mean for United? Less regulation. In general, those regulations cost money to adhere to, but they also exist to safeguard against companies getting creative with their books. Just because the Glazers are exempting themselves doesn't mean they are witch doctors, but if you are already suspicious of the way the club is being run, the opt-out probably isn't reassuring.

Start-Up, eh?

10-to-1 says Fox News is all over this Monday morning.  Eric Bolling @ FNTheFive is probably salivating like a fat kid over a bag of candy.

Think about the reality of this for a minute.  Even if MAN U qualifies as the type of enterprise the legislation intended to cover; now the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) is being used to "create jobs" overseas?

WSJ:  But in the latest strange twist to the new law, the spirit of U.S. job creation will be embodied by none other than Manchester United, the British soccer club.

Next week, "Man U" is expected to net $300 million by offering shares to U.S. investors on the New York Stock Exchange. Never mind that the team is based in the land of bangers and mash; because it has revenues under $1 billion, it qualifies to sell its stock and report its financial results under the provisions of a law intended to help U.S. companies create American jobs.

Another $300 million for Man U should amply equip 11 strong men, a few substitutes and some coaches to keep soccer balls flying across grassy fields in Europe. It also could enable the company's management to disclose fewer financial details to American investors. But how this kind of IPO will create jobs in the U.S. is anybody's guess. A spokeswoman for Man U declined to comment, as is customary on the eve of a securities offering.

The Romney camp should love that.

Oh wait, he stepped in it the last time he talked about professional sports.  Maybe not.

DAILY FINANCE:  ("Ugliest IPO of the Year") In a rare display of congressional bipartisanship, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act became law earlier in 2012. Among other things, the legislation eased regulations so that so-called "emerging" or "high-growth" companies had fewer barriers to going public.

Next week, fabled English soccer club Manchester United will be taking advantage of the JOBS Act's relaxed rules by listing its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. It's seeking to raise roughly $300 million in an IPO (ticker symbol: MANU).

Was Manchester United the sort of IPO that the JOBS Act authors had in mind when dreaming of job-creation and jumpstarting startups (if that's even possible)? I sincerely hope not.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Politics; Sports
KEYWORDS: manchesterunited; manu; soccer

1 posted on 08/04/2012 11:18:32 AM PDT by T Christopher
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: T Christopher

Glazer ruined united, with their debt.
Their hedge funds have crippled what was once the richest slorting clubin the world and th eonly reason why Glazer is dong this now is to try and generate some money to buy players due to united falling behind other clubs who do have money.

2 posted on 08/04/2012 11:29:05 AM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: manc

Fans clearly believe the Glazers are merely doing this to turn a profit and sure up interests elsewhere. More than curious to see if it translates to player acquisitions in the next transfer window.

3 posted on 08/04/2012 11:39:21 AM PDT by T Christopher
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: T Christopher

Gives new meaning to the cry, Up United.

4 posted on 08/04/2012 11:53:08 AM PDT by razorback-bert (I'm in shape. Round is a shape isn't it?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: manc

If Rangers FC can go down, anything is possible....a day of reckoning is coming for all of the big clubs, the crazy spending cannot go on forever.

5 posted on 08/04/2012 11:55:03 AM PDT by dfwgator (FUJR (not you, Jim))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: T Christopher

The very same team that GM paid $400-600 mil to have its logo put on? =.=

6 posted on 08/04/2012 12:45:35 PM PDT by cranked
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator

from Salford, Manchester, supported and watched every week for years united but I think seeing united in the top 4 this season would be a shock.

7 posted on 08/04/2012 1:08:21 PM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: T Christopher
Obozo’s Government Motors stopped advertising at the Super Bowl so we can outsource $600 million to the Manchester United (UK) franchise? Why isn't the UAW screaming bloody murder? Wait, because it's taxpayer money. Silly me.
8 posted on 08/04/2012 1:09:15 PM PDT by MasterGunner01 (11)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: manc

Hard to believe already next week is the Community Shield, it seems last season ended only yesterday.

9 posted on 08/04/2012 1:56:01 PM PDT by dfwgator (FUJR (not you, Jim))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator

was just saying the same thing to the misses.

I’ll hear Fergie saying “we have Vidic back and it’s like signing a new player”

How many times I;ve heard that since the Glazer gimps took over, {sigh}

10 posted on 08/04/2012 2:02:24 PM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson