Political Economy of Football
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Japanese Bank Tries to Block Glazer - 23/10/2004

Nomura, Japan's largest investment bank, is trying to find a way of blocking a takeover of Manchester United by Malcolm Glazer who has increased his stake in the club once again to 28.1%. The Japanese bank has been working on a package with Keith Harris, chairman of UK investment bank Seymour Pierce and a long-term United fan. The original plan was to earmark 200m for use by Mr Harris and the supporters. It would have been secured using shares held by fan groups as collateral. The loan would have been partly repaid from the securitisation of future ticket sales or media rights, although this is an option not all fans are keen on because they fear it could push up ticket prices at Old Trafford. In any event, now that Mr Glazer and his family hold more than 25% of the shares they could block any securitisation deal which has to be passed by 75 per cent of shareholders. In spite of this setback, Nomura is continuing to work on a financing proposal. Shareholders United and the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, the two largest fan groups, have met with Mr Harris who has ambitions to be chairman of the club. This has made some fans suspcicious, but an effort coordinated by him is probably the best current hope of blocking Glazer. The meeting with the United fans was held in London, the Financial Times cheekily suggesting that this was to allow the largest possible number of United fans to attend the meeting, although the pink paper suggested that Surrey would have been an even more convenient locale.


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