Sluggish Start for Manchester United on the NYSE

on Aug 17, 2012
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It is very rare for a professional sports team to get listed on a stock exchange and when we are talking about one of the most recognized football clubs in the world, it is no surprise that last week’s IPO was much anticipated. Manchester United (MANU:NYS), with their massive fan base, have been named by Forbes magazine as the world’s most valuable team with a total value of $2.23bn (£1.42bn). For comparison, the most valuable US-based team, the New York Yankees, holds third place in the ranking with $1.88bn (£1.2bn).

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This is not the first time for Manchester United to be traded publicly. Back in the 1990s the team sold shares on the London Stock Exchange but their performance was poor and mainly stirred rumours of a possible upcoming deal for the ownership of the club. The shares were finally delisted from the LSE in 2004 after US businessman Michael Glazer, owner of NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, bought the club for $1.5bn (£955mn).

The initial intent of the Glazers to list the team in Singapore with the goal of raising $1bn (£637m) were scratched after behind the scenes probing of investor sentiment showed an obvious lack of demand. As a result, the club owners decided to pursue a more realistic amount of $330m (£210m) on Wall Street. Getco was the designated market maker and lead underwriters included Jefferies, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase.

!m[](/uploads/story/259/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)The debut was unimpressive with shares closing at the initial offering price of $14 (£8.91). This was a second blow for the issuers with the launch price already having been cut from $16 (£10.19) -$20 (£12.73) close to the isssue’s launch. Instead of the desired $330m (£210m), the club only raised $234mn (£149mn) from the sale of 16.7m shares. According to a source familiar with the listing, Jefferies had to step in and

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