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Decoder: Man Utd IPO - soccer stars or media moguls?

Friday, July 20, 2012 - 03:13

July 20 - It may be the world's most valuable sports team but Manchester United is taking a different tack in its attempt to lure reluctant investors.

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It flirted with Hong Kong. Was briefly seduced by Singapore. But in the end it was New York that won the hearts of Manchester United. It's. The world's most valuable sports team has decided to -- on the New York Stock Exchange but is it actually a sports business. The SEC filing describes an advertising dependent content producer but in Chile's strong brand visibility and loyalty. In other woods a media company. Sports companies aren't particularly attractive to US investors. Remember the great Cleveland Indians in Orlando predators IPOs of the 1990s. The owners are American. The plays a family of Tampa Bay Buccaneers and shopping mouth claim. Label the club in 2005. For about one point three billion dollars. Another case of rich Florida and is boosting the coffers of an English football team then. Will not exactly. This was a leveraged buy out -- no one's debt -- club with huge amounts of borrowings. Seven years on it's still has a debt pile of 420. Million pounds. But we're talking a massively successful team here manager Alex Ferguson is the most decorated him British football history. The sub -- so Alex is now seventy the will be an almost impossible act to follow him. On top of that United's financial position has seen it lose out on marquee player signings in the past she does. Last season it lost the league title to fierce rivals Manchester City. And was knocked out of the champions league it's an early stage. Perhaps then a chance for fans to have a say in the running of that club. Except the proposed jewels -- -- structure means the families leash as will carry ten times the voting rights of the Asia as being made available. And the company has been registered in the Cayman Islands. Along way for the average fan to travel to the ATM. So unless you're a -- that shareholders will have almost no influence over the club. On top of that the prospectus makes it clear they have no intention of paying dividends. So is that any upside. But the blazers say they'll use the proceeds to cut debts potentially freeing up cash to attract top players. And with half a billion fans around the world the club has been able to strike commercial deals in over 72 countries including a major -- deal with Nike. It will also take a large slice of the premier league's -- three billion pound TV deal. In the end -- investing in sports teams is really just a diehard fans and romantics. Perhaps pretending to be immediate company will convince more rational investors. Then again. Perhaps not. -- -- -- -- -- --

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Decoder: Man Utd IPO - soccer stars or media moguls?

Friday, July 20, 2012 - 03:13