Man United prices its IPO below target

City A.M. Reporter
MANCHESTER United last night priced shares in its New York listing at $14, below the expected range, bookrunner Jefferies said, valuing the British football club at $2.3bn (£1.47bn).

The team priced 16.7m shares, as planned, and raised $233.2m, making the deal the largest sports-team IPO on record, according to Thomson Reuters data.

However, this is well below the $3.3bn the club and its owners, the Glazer family, were expecting.

The company hoped to price shares in a range of $16 to $20. The deal would have raised $333m had it 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 football team in the world with more than 650m fans, has said it wanted to use the proceeds to pay down its significant debt load, which stood in excess of £437m as of 30 June.

Some fans of the team have protested the IPO, criticising 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.