Goalless draw for United
At one time or another most football fans have been to a much hyped match which ends in a rather dull goalless draw. It was a bit like that with Manchester United's launch on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.
There was plenty of razmatazz. Members of the Glazer family and United executives sounded the opening bell. Outside local children played five-a-side football while mascot Fred the Red bounded near the touchline. The facade of the New York Stock Exchange was covered by a huge red Manchester United banner. Stock traders wore red shirts with 'MANU-LISTED-NYSE' on the front.
However, the share price had to be set at $14 when between $16 and $20 had been hoped for. Apparently $14 was a price quality institutional investors were willing to pay. Shares rose to $14.20 by midday, but there were suggestions that lead underwriter Jeffries had to step in and buy the shares to stop them slipping below $14.
About $234m has been raised from the share issue, nearly $100m less than the $330 implied at the top of the price range. Earlier this year it had been hoped to earn as much as $1bn through a listing in Asia.
As the Financial Times points out this morning, the launch does represent a further Americanisation of the club. The Manchester United Supporters Trust is calling for fans to boycott the club's sponsors worldwide.
But that has been tried before with little success. Even if it did have a perceptible impact on their sales, they can't tear up their contracts with the club. Given that the club is now valued at less than the Glazers hoped for, they are going to hang in there in the hope of making a big capital appreciation in the longer run.
Can't wait to see how Manchester United will perform financially and on the pitch this season? Then head over to www.ladbrokes.com to enjoy some brilliant football games and pass the time while you wait for the season to start. If slots is your thing then try out 'Shoot!' or 'Soccer Safari', or if it's instant win that is more your thing, then the 'Offside and Seek' scratch card is for you.