Risk factors abound at United
Despite some bullish statements, there is a rather downbeat tone to the prospectus issued by Manchester United for its New York listing. Of the 143-page document, 21 pages is given over to risk factors. These cover everything from natural disasters to the idea that the club's popularity and, indeed, the popularity of football may decline.
Circumstances have obliged the Glazers to launch in New York in a country where football is a minor sport and through what is generally regarded as a second tier investment bank. However, the Glazers want to keep control of the club with weighted voting B shares. Such dual share structures are extremely rare in the UK and unattractive to UK investors.
Even in the States investors may be put off by the declared intention not to pay dividends. They can only get a return on their investment by selling their shares in the future at a higher price or through a sale of the club which does not seem likely any time soon.
United blogger and finance expert Andy Green commented, 'After seven years of the club denying the debt burden was a probem, we are now witnessing the huge volte face of an IPO specifically for the purpose of reducing the amount of debt. The great shame is that more than £500m has been wasted on interest and fees over the past seven years.'