London: Manchester United’s $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore will use a two-tier share structure to minimize the influence of its new shareholders, a source familiar with the transaction said.
The Glazer family, owners of English soccer’s Premier League champions, wanted to ensure “stability and quick and efficient decision making,” the source told Reuters on Wednesday.
“Having (direct) control ensures long-term decision making and strategic planning for the long term benefit of the business. This structure works best for the club due to the rapid nature of decisions required and specialist knowledge of the football transfer market,” the source said.
Manchester United will unveil a sixth consecutive year of record operating profit and revenue when reporting full-year results on Thursday, the source said. The club was expected to report revenue well over £300 million ($488 million), operating profit of over 100 million and positive net income, the source said.
United’s operating profit has more than doubled since it was taken over in 2005 by the Glazers who have been targeted since by supporters uncomfortable with the club’s debt, despite continued on-field success. Slogans such as “Love United, Hate Glazer” have been used by fans.
United’s gross debt stood at £478 million at the end of March. The club made a net loss of £84 million in 2010.
Manchester United has hired Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase to manage its IPO, for which premarketing was expected to start in mid-September.
The Financial Times reported on Wednesday the ability to use a dual share structure had been a key reason for the club’s decision to switch the IPO to Singapore from Hong Kong.
Manchester United was not available to comment.