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Manchester United IPO

Overwhelmed by its debt, Manchester United will debut this Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, hoping to raise $ 233 million (€ 188 million).
The club said in a statement that 16.7 million shares will be sold at 14 dollars each on the New York Stock Exchange. Original forecasts were initially from 16 to 20 dollars. The owner of the Red Devils Malcolm Glazer announced that all net revenues would be used to pay down the debt, estimated at $ 644 million (€ 520 million). Last season the Red Devils have made a profit of $ 19.7 million (€ 16m).

Even after the cut, United will be valued at $2.3bn (£1.5bn), making it the most valuable football club in the world. Real Madrid, its closest rival in financial terms, is valued at $1.88bn, according to an annual ranking by Forbes magazine.

The club claims a global fan base of about 660m and has won a record 19 league titles. Its share sale will be the largest sports listing on record, surpassing World Wrestling Federation’s $190m IPO in 1999, according to Thomson Reuters.

Wall Street analysts have warned they believe United’s sale could also be a disappointment. “I’m calling this ‘son of Facebook’,” said David Menlow, president of the research firm IPOfinancial.com.

A leading fan group has called for a boycott of the club’s sponsors in protest at the terms of the share sale.

A statement from the Manchester United Supporters Trust read: “The Manchester United Supporters Trust has today called for a worldwide boycott of Manchester United sponsors’ products, with support across the UK, Europe, Asia and the US. The boycott strategy is intended to send a loud and clear message to the Glazer family and club sponsors that, without the support and purchasing power of the fans, the global strength of the Manchester United brand doesn’t actually exist.”

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