Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Manchester United prices IPO below expected range

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring a goal

DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS

Manchester United Ltd. said its shares priced on Thursday at $14 (U.S.) each for its U.S. initial public offering, valuing the British soccer club at $2.3-billion, significantly below expectations.

The team priced 16.7 million shares, as planned, and raised $233.2-million, about $100-million less than it had hoped.

While that still makes it the largest sports-team IPO on record, the value is much below the up to $3.3-billion the club and its owners, the Glazer family, were expecting.

Story continues below advertisement

That would mean the club, which has been trying to reduce its debt after its 2005 leveraged buyout by the Glazer family, would get less money to do so. The Glazers, whose holdings include shopping centres and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team, will also take in less money from the share sale.

The company expected to price shares in a range of $16 to $20. The deal would have raised $333-million if it had priced at the high end of its range. The Glazers are selling half the shares, while the team is selling the rest.

Manchester United, which claims to be the most popular soccer team in the world with more than 650 million fans, has said it wanted to use the proceeds to pay down its significant debt load, which stood in excess of £437-million ($682 million) as of June 30.

Some fans of the team have protested the IPO, criticizing the Glazers for only using half of the deal's proceeds to pay down debt. They argue that this hefty debt load has led to reduced financial flexibility, at the expense of investment in players and the team's performance.

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.