Man United revisits plans for Singapore IPO

Manchester United, the record 19-time English soccer champion, is revisiting plans for an initial public offering in Singapore as stock markets recover, said five people with knowledge of the matter.

United and its bankers restarted discussions about 10 days ago, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because the deliberations are private. The IPO may take place this year, two people said.

The soccer club received the Singapore stock exchange’s approval in September to raise about $1bn (€760m) in an IPO, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

The process then stalled as volatile stock markets made equity sales more difficult to pull off, bankers said.

United will have to file new financial statements to the Singapore bourse should it opt to proceed with the IPO, the people said. The company may still pick Hong Kong over Singapore for the offering, according to one person.

Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index has gained 12% since Dec 31, after tumbling 17% in 2011, the biggest annual decline in three years.

The city-state hasn’t had any IPOs of more than $100m since October, data derived from Bloomberg shows.

United hired JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley as bookrunners for the IPO, together with Credit Suisse Group, sources said last year.

Philip Townsend, a spokesman for the club, declined to comment.

The soccer club’s pretax profit in the year ended Jun 30 was £29.7m (€35.74m), compared with a loss of £15m the year before. It’s the second time in six years that the club has been profitable.

United’s US owners, the Glazer family, bought the team in 2005 for £790m.

United’s chief executive David Gill told the Sunday Telegraph in October that the potential share sale would be “beneficial”.

The club lost the first leg of its Europa League knock-out game to Spain’s Athletic Bilbao 3-2 at Old Trafford last night. It will need to win the return in Spain to stand a chance of making the quarterfinals.

United is playing in Europe’s second-tier competition after being eliminated from the Champions League in the group stages for only the third time in 17 years. Last season it broke Liverpool’s championship record.

Bloomberg


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