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Man. United Shares Seen Rising From 12-Month Low by Jefferies

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Jefferies Group LLC reasserted its “buy” recommendation on Manchester United even as the English soccer champion’s shares hover around a 12-month low and the team struggles with its worst-ever Premier League campaign.

The investment bank issued the advice with the club scheduled to report second-quarter results today. According to an e-mailed research note, Jefferies expects an 11 percent rise in quarterly revenue to 122 million pounds ($201 million), “driven largely by growth in the company’s commercial arm.”

Manchester United Plc’s shares, which started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2012, slipped below $15 to a 52-week low last month. The shares fell as low as $14.77 yesterday. The initial public offering price was $14.

Lying seventh in England’s top division after eight defeats under new manager David Moyes, the team could miss out on Europe’s lucrative Champions League for the first time since 1995-96 if it doesn’t start winning. United has never finished lower than third since the Premier League’s inception in 1992.

“Although the team has struggled on the field of late, we nonetheless remain optimistic,” Jefferies’ New York-based analyst Randal Konik said in the note. “We will look for additional color around wage growth as well as any updates on a new kit deal with Nike or potentially another sponsor.”

The club’s 13-year jersey deal with Oregon-based Nike Inc., worth 303 million pounds, expires next year. Adidas AG, Puma SE and Warrior Sports, a unit of New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., have all expressed an interest in replacing Nike, according to the Independent newspaper.

United, owned by the U.S.-based Glazer family, was recently passed by Bayern Munich as soccer’s third-richest club by sales, according to research by Deloitte LLP. Even so, it is “well-placed” to regain the spot after this season on increased broadcast and sponsorship income, the consulting firm said. Real Madrid and Barcelona top Deloitte’s annual rankings.

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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