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LONDON -- Manchester United, named by Forbes as the world's richest football club for eight years in succession, is considering abandoning its initial public offering in the Asian stock market and listing in the U.S. instead, in search of the best valuation, according to sources with knowledge of the plans.
The 19-time English top-flight champions had previously planned a $1 billion flotation in Singapore in the second half of last year before the plans were put on ice due to market uncertainty. But sources claim that banks pitched the idea of switching the IPO to the American owners, the Glazer family, who may see a U.S. listing as more accessible to investors around the world.
Any potential move may see a shake-up in the book-running syndicate for the deal, with JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM ) and Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS ) tipped to remain, though Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) -- who was hired for the Singapore share sale -- may no longer advise.
If the rumors prove true, then it would strike a blow to the Singapore market, which aims to become the base of a cluster of international sports names -- indeed, it would be a second blow in quick succession, after Bernie Ecclestone delayed the proposed Formula One IPO bid, which would aim to fetch something between $2.5 billion and $3 billion.
So far, Manchester United has declined to comment on the speculation. Watch this space!
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