Photo: Cork Gaines
Earlier this year, the Glazers told the world that Manchester United was not for sale. But now the Glazers may be willing to part with a portion of the club, a move that could result in a hell of a windfall for the despised owners.Forbes recently valued Manchester United at £1.1 billion ($1.9 billion). But there were reports earlier this year that Qatar’s royal family was ready to purchase the club for £1.8 billion ($2.9 billion).
But rather than sell the entire team, reports say that the Glazers will sell 25 per cent of the world’s most popular sports franchise. And early estimates suggest the Glazers will net £400 million ($650 million) for the sale, or about half of the price the Glazers paid for the club in 2005 (£800 million/$1.3 billion in 2005). Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down the owners’ debt from the original purchase, estimated at £500 million ($800 million).
If the Glazers can raise $650 million for the sale of one-fourth of Manchester United, they will have ended up paying $650 million for 75 per cent of a club that is now worth as much $2.9 billion on the open market. That remaining portion of the club owned by the Glazers could still be worth nearly $2.0 billion (if we account for the remaining debt).
In other words, if they do sell a stake in the club, in the six years since the Glazers purchased Manchester United, their debt will be nearly gone, they will maintain control of the world’s foremost sports franchise, and their investment will have tripled in value.
The Glazers are in the business of owning sports teams (they also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). And business is good.
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