Manchester United Has Tepid NY Stock Market Debut
New York, NY
Manchester United did not perform as expected during its much-anticipated stock market debut, raising just $234 million from 16.7 million shares to finance the debt-riddled team.
The team (MANU.N) opened at $14.05 per share on the New York Stock Exchange, slightly higher than their initial public offering price of $14. The price went up to $14.20 but dropped to $14 before the market closed for the day.
The amount from the sold shares has been split in two, with the half going to the Glazer family which owns the team and the other half to the squad.
The share price was much lower than the expected $16 to $20 range for the 134-year-old club which carries a market capitalization of about $2.3 billion, making it one of the world's most valuable sports teams. The amount exceeded the $2.15 billion paid for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year.
This marks the second time that Manchester United went public. The team was first listed in June 1991 at the London Stock Exchange but was removed in 2005 following a 1.47 billion buyout by the Glazer family, headed by American businessman Malcolm Glazer.
The team has attempted to launch an IPO on exchanges in Asia but did not push through because of the volatile market.
Manchester United is planning to use IPO proceeds to reduce its debt estimated at $663.5 million. The team's debt has kept it from pursuing big-name players to beef up its line-up.
"In the last few years, they have missed out on key players because their hands were tied by too much debt," said Sam Hamadeh, chief executive of research firm PrivCo LLC. "People shouldn't confuse this stock, which is a fan collectible, with an actual investment. There is virtually no chance it will trade two years from now higher than what it was priced at."
But Manchester United Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said the team has attracted a significant number of high-quality institutional investors in the US, Europe and Asia.
"We had a fantastic response from the investor base in the U.S.," said Woodward. "We found that a number of people came in with a strong level of interest, which was tweaked higher when they heard our story. It's very easy for people in the U.S. to grasp the huge opportunities around merchandising and digital media."
Woodward added the team decided to go for a US listing because its brand resonated with investors and many of many of the team's partners and sponsors, like Nike and General are U.S.-based.
"There's a large number of future deals we expect to do with U.S. corporations," Woodward said.
Recently, Manchester United signed a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with General Motors to have the Chevrolet brand adorn its jerseys starting in 2014.
Manchester United is the first major sports team to launch an IPO in the U.S. since Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians did it back in 1998. The Indians were taken private again in 1999.
The Green Bay Packers of the National Football League have been a publicly owned nonprofit since 1923. The team still sells shares from time to time, primarily to fans but its stock isn't listed on an exchange as its redemption price is minimal and it doesn't appreciate in value.
Britain's world-renowned soccer club Manchester United has slashed the price of its US share offer, cutting the proceeds from Friday's listing to $233 million from a hoped-for $300 million as it goes public in an IPO on Wall Street
Manchester United goes public in IPO on Wall Street
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