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

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Priechenfried in London at bprie@bloomberg.net

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

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