Man Utd fans move to block bids

Manchester United shareholders are pressing ahead with plans to block bids for the Premiership football club, after the collapse last week of US tycoon Malcolm Glazer’s latest approach.

The collapse was triggered by the resignation of investment partner JP Morgan, financial PR adviser Brunswick and ex-Sun sports editor Paul Ridley from the Glazer bid team.

Keith Harris, head of broker Seymour Pierce and a Man Utd shareholder and supporter, has hired Holborn CEO David Bick to handle press interest as it moves to set up a financial structure that would enable fans to block moves to win control of the club.

Bick said that while Harris and its investment partner Japanese bank Nomura were not pursuing the securitisation of ticket sales and broadcasting rights method as reported in the media, Seymour Pierce and Nomura would continue to work on a blocking method following last week’s resignation of Glazer’s advisers.

Seymour Pierce and Nomura would not discuss details of the deal but it has been estimated that Nomura could provide up to £200m funding for Harris and a collection of Man Utd supporter groups to acquire the 25 per cent stake they need to foil a takeover. Supporters already own 18 per cent of the club.

JP Morgan’s resignation of the Glazer account last week was a blow to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner’s moves to acquire the club. Glazer does not have sufficient liquid assets to fund Man Utd’s estimated £800m price tag and is struggling to line up advisers to replace JP Morgan, Brunswick and Ridley.

One senior financial PRO told PRWeek that without proper financing, PR support for a Glazer bid would be irrelevant. ‘Glazer’s problem is not his PR,’ said the PRO. ‘His problem is finding the money.’

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