Manchester United Not for Sale, Unconcerned About Share Drop

Manchester United’s owners won’t sell the club for “many, many years” and aren’t concerned about a drop in its shares since an initial public offering, the vice chairman of the 19-time English soccer champion said.

The U.S.-based Glazer family raised $233.3 million by selling 10 percent of the 134-year-old club in New York in August at $14 a share, below the initial marketed range of as much as $20. The shares slumped almost 12 percent before today.

“I’m not concerned about the share price,” Ed Woodward told reporters in London today. “I’m very confident about the growth plans in place.

“When we told the story at the road show, people bought into the story and we were all comfortable with the $14 share price,” he said. “What I need to do is make sure that we’re communicating in the right way. Part of it is talking to people about our commercial success. Talking to analysts, talking to investors.”

Manchester United (MANU) has struck nine commercial deals since July, according to Woodward.

“It’s positive to get that kind of news across, but we need to make sure that we are communicating properly to the U.S. financial press, and more importantly, to the U.S. financial analysts and investors out there,” he said. “There is probably a disconnect there in terms of reminding people of the story, and where we actually are, because we’re doing well.”

The shares fell 12 cents, or 1 percent, to $12.26 at 11.10 a.m. in New York trading, giving the team a market value of $2 billion.

Committed

Woodward said he speaks with the Glazers every day and they remain committed to the club.

“It is a very popular business that people have interest in, but the answer is, it’s not for sale,” Woodward said. “I don’t see them selling completely for many, many years.”

The IPO would make it possible for one of the members of the Glazer family to eventually sell a stake, he said.

“They’re a family of six siblings,” Woodward said. “From time to time, in seven to 10 years, who knows whether one of them wants to sell a small piece or not. They’re all different people, so it’s just smart to make sure they can do that without having to sell the business.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh in London at drossingh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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