LONDON -- Previous speculation that Manchester United may list in the U.S. stock market was confirmed last night, as the 19-time English top-flight champions filed an application with the New York Stock Exchange to raise up to $100 million.
The news also confirmed rumors last month that the world's most supported football club was considering ditching its plans to float in Asia in favor of a U.S. listing. The club had previously planned a $1 billion flotation in Singapore in the second half of last year, and prior to that it had been eyeing a Hong Kong listing.
Although $100 million is much less than the $1 billion figure mentioned before, this isn't hugely surprising, as the amount of money a company states it aims to raise in its first IPO is used to calculate registration fees; the actual size of the IPO may be greater if the tactic of appearing to be a low flotation proves attractive to investors.
Owned by the Glazer family since 2005, the club has had to burden itself with vast amounts of debt currently totalling 423 million pounds, so the money raised by this flotation will go toward paying that back. Significantly, however, there will be two types of shares issued in the IPO, which will ensure that the Glazer family stays in control of the club. This dual-class share strategy is popular in the U.S., having also been used by the likes of Google and, more recently, Facebook.
The news brings confirmation that Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) , which was hired for the Singapore share sale, will no longer advise on the IPO, while underwriters include Jefferies, Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank Securities.
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