The American owners of Manchester United pocketed around €95m today as shares in the football club were publicly traded for the first time in seven years.
Some 16.6 million shares, equal to 10% of the club, were floated on the New York Stock Exchange to great fanfare as members of the Glazer family rang the opening bell.
The 134-year-old club offered shares for $14 apiece – giving United a market value of €1.9bn – but there was little price movement in early trade.
The offering was substantially lower than the $16 to $20 US dollars originally proposed by its advisers – which would have valued the club at €2.66bn at the top end.
The flotation will raise around €190m with roughly half the proceeds going to the Glazers, who bought the club in 2005 for €1bn, while the remaining proceeds will be used to pay down some of the Red Devils’ €536m debt pile.
Supporters groups are angry that only half of the money raised will go towards paying down the club's debts.
Earlier this month, a leading Manchester United fans’ group called for a boycott of the club’s expanding portfolio of sponsors in protest at the planned flotation.
A statement from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (Must) 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.”