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Odey’s Fund Takes $22 Million Bet Against Manchester Utd. Shares

Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey is betting that the shares of English soccer champion Manchester United Plc will decline amid the club’s worst start to a season for 12 years.

Odey Asset Management LLP took a 0.78 percent short position on the club’s shares. The bet, on shares representing about $22 million based on United’s market value of $2.78 billion, was filed on Dec. 5, according to Bloomberg data. Odey, 54, is the founder of the London-based fund.

After 15 league matches, United is ninth in the Premier League, its lowest position that far into a season since 2001. Coach Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the last campaign after leading the team to a record-extending 20th domestic league title.

Odey didn’t immediately return a telephone call for comment on his investment.

The shares of United, which first started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2012, closed at $17.24 on Dec. 5. They rose 1 cent to $16.98 yesterday, and have gained 21 percent so far this year.

In a short sale, traders bet stock prices will fall by borrowing shares and selling them. Traders plan to buy back the stock at a lower price, return the shares to their original owner and pocket the difference as profit.

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