Manchester United's Glazer to Start Paying 16.25% on Soccer Purchase Loan

Manchester United’s owners begin paying 16.25 percent interest this week on a loan they took out to refinance their purchase of the 18-time English soccer champions, company filings show.

U.S. billionaire Malcolm Glazer, the 82-year-old owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will pay the rate on more than 200 million pounds ($312 million) of payment-in-kind notes due 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. PIK loans are typically used to hold down cash expenses in leveraged buyouts because they carry coupons that accumulate and are paid on maturity or when the debt is redeemed.

“PIKs can make sense at certain times but given the rate at which interest accumulates they can quickly wipe out equity,” said Jonathan Moore, a high-yield analyst at Evolution Securities Ltd. in London. “You’d expect owners to take them out as soon as they’re able to.”

The loan was agreed by a Glazer holding company called Red Football Joint Venture Ltd. and is the responsibility of the family rather than the club, Chief Executive Officer David Gill has said. The club is liable for a 504 million-pound bond sale it completed earlier this year. The Glazers have an option under the terms of the bond to take 70 million pounds out of the club to pay down other debt.

A Glazer family spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment. Philip Townsend, a spokesman for the club, couldn’t be reached.

Fans Protest

The PIK loan will total more than 267 million pounds at the end of June next year under the new rate of interest, rising to more than 310 million pounds a year later, Bloomberg calculations show. When the loan was agreed in 2007 the interest rate was 14.25 percent, according to filings at Companies House in London.

The club’s debt burden prompted protest from fans concerned that income will be used to finance borrowing rather than on players. A group of wealthy fans known as the Red Knights, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Economist Jim O’Neill, has said they are willing to pay “a sensible price” for the club, prompting the Glazers to deny it’s on sale.

Manchester United’s 250 million pounds of 8.75 percent bonds due 2017 were at 96.8 pence on the pound today, little changed on the week, according to Bloomberg composite prices. The notes slumped to as little as 90.5 pence on June 11.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Glover in London at johnglover@bloomberg.net

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