Manchester United’s plc board officially informed the stock market this morning that the club have “not received any approach, formal or informal, regarding a possible takeover offer”.
Speculation that billionaire American businessman Malcolm Glazer is planning a bid to buy United reached new heights last night after the matter was referred to the UK's Takeover Panel.
Glazer, who last week increased his stake in the club to 16.31%, admitted yesterday he was considering his options and could increase his shareholding.
However Glazer, who owns former Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, insisted he could also sell his stake in the club.
A statement from the club’s plc today revealed they had had no forewarning of any further activity.
“The board of Manchester United plc wishes to make clear that, as at today’s date, it has not received any approach, formal or informal, regarding a possible takeover offer for the company,” it read.
“The directors of Manchester United accept responsibility for the information contained in this announcement.
"To the best of the knowledge and belief of the directors (who have taken all reasonable care to ensure that such is the case), the information contained in this announcement is in accordance with the facts and does not contain anything likely to affect the import of such information.”
Glazer increased his stake in United less than 24 hours after John Magnier and JP McManus did the same thing, fuelling rumours of a takeover war between the two camps.
United were subsequently placed in an offer period by the British Takeover Panel.
According to its own website, www.thetakeoverpanel.org.uk: “The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers is the regulatory body which administers the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers.
“Its central objective is to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity for all shareholders in takeover bids.
“The composition and powers of the Panel have evolved over the years as circumstances have changed. Although it remains a non-statutory body, it is now supported by a number of organisations backed by statute.”
Glazer also released a statement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday morning, in which he announced: “The Malcolm I. Glazer Family Partnership notes the press speculation resulting from its increased shareholding in Manchester United Plc.
“The Malcolm I. Glazer Family Partnership is a long-time and enthusiastic supporter of Manchester United.
“The Malcolm I. Glazer Family Partnership has acquired shares in Manchester United because it has great admiration for Manchester United’s rich history, loyal fans, great players, outstanding managers, winning tradition and for investment purposes.
“As with any investment, it is considering its possible options, which may include increasing its shareholding or decreasing its shareholding in Manchester United.
“It could also include a possible offer for or a possible sale of its shareholding in Manchester United.
“Contrary to press speculation, no financial adviser has as yet been appointed in connection with its investment in Manchester United.
“The Malcolm I. Glazer Family Partnership will make a further announcement when appropriate.”