Manchester Utd fans target banks on float

Julian Harris
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THE BANKS advising Manchester United on this week’s planned initial public offering (IPO) in New York have been sent over half a million letters from activist fans opposed to the listing.

Commercial associates of the club are being targeted by supporters angry with the policies of United’s Glazer family owners.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) has called for millions of fans around the world to boycott the club’s sponsors, a move that could affect firms such as Thomas Cook, Smirnoff and Nike.

As well as protesting to sponsors, MUST have prompted over 500,000 fans to send e-mails of complaint to banks involved in the IPO.

Lead underwriters Jeffries, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank have seen their inboxes flooded with missives from irate United fans.

Additional underwriters are also on the receiving end of the e-mails, which could total 750,000 before the IPO is launched on Friday. These include Aon Benfield, BNP Paribas, BOCI Asia, CiMB, DBS Bank, Nomura, Raymond James, and Santander.

The listing is expected to contribute to the biggest week for IPOs in New York since Facebook floated in May.

The Glazers’ regime has been unpopular since their takeover of the club in 2005. Fans are now upset that new shares will come with limited voting rights, while the Glazers’ will maintain power and enjoy dividend payments through their separately classed shares.

Meanwhile, spread betting firm ETX Capital has said that it will offer trading on the United shares.