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Sun 27 Feb 2011 11:34 AM

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Manchester United rules out sale amid rumours of Qatari bid

Glazers are not selling, amid rampant media speculation of a $2.4bn offer from Qatar Holding

Manchester United rules out sale amid rumours of Qatari bid
Reports have appeared on an almost weekly basis linking Qatar Holdings with a bid for Manchester United

Manchester United’s has spoken out on reports linking the club to Qatari royalty by stating that its current owners, the US-based Glazer family, are “fully committed” to the club, which has won the English championship 18 times.

Reports have appeared on an almost weekly basis linking Qatar Holdings with a bid for the team. The Daily Mail yesterday said the Middle East group was planning a fresh £1.5bn ($2.4bn) offer for the team, which the Glazers bought for £790m in a 2005 leveraged buyout.

“The owners remain fully committed to their long-term ownership of the club,” Manchester United said in a statement released alongside quarterly results for MU Finance, a subsidiary of the club. “No discussions have taken place, Manchester United is not for sale and the owners will not entertain any offers.”

The message is the latest in a series of denials by the Glazer family that it wants to maintain its ownership of the club. It issued a similar statement to bondholders in May following a season when some of the club’s supporters began a concerted campaign to force them out.

The Glazers, who also own the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stoked anger among supporters by loading debt on to the English club to help pay for the purchase.

Debts associated with the takeover, which were once as high as £850m, have fallen to £489.4m, according to the figures released today.

In November the owners paid off £220m of payment-in-kind loans that accrued interest of 16.25 percent.

The club’s revenue has more than doubled under the Glazers. Sales grew by 7.1 percent to £93.2m, in the three months ended December 31.

Much of the growth came from a 33 percent increase in commercial revenue to £25.5m. Matchday and media sales were little changed.

The team’s commercial operation, which is headed by London- based former JPMorgan Chase & Co banker Edward Woodward, generated £95.9m year-on-year, the team said.

Manchester United replaced a £500m bank loan with a bond last year.

The club’s cash reserves have swelled thanks to the continuing growth in its day-to-day business activities and the record £80m sale of winger Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in 2009. The club today announced it used some of that cash to buy £24m of its bonds in the second quarter. The notes haven’t been retired.

‘‘The senior secured notes may be sold back to the market in the future depending on the capital and operating requirements of the business,” United said. The club has a cash balance of £134.5m.

United, which currently tops the Premier League, has won three league titles and the 2008 Champions League since the Glazers bought the team. Forbes Magazine estimated its market value at $1.8bn.


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Wayne Huyser 9 years ago

Sell that Soccer Team! Concentrate best efforts on Buccaneers instead!