Manchester United Scores $233 Million in IPO
Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) raised $233 million in its much anticipated IPO as the club sold shares on the New York Stock Exchange. This made Manchester United the first English football club to list on an American exchange. After expenses, Manchester United accrued $110.3 million in the offering.
In an SEC filing, Manchester United stated, "We will use all of our net proceeds from this offering to reduce indebtedness by exercising our option to redeem and retire $101.7 million in aggregate principal amount of our 8.375 percent U.S. dollar senior secured notes due 2017 at a redemption price equal to 108.375 percent of the principal amount of such notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest to the date of such redemption."
Investors in the U.S. may be unsure on how to trade a football club, as it is a new type of company to list in the US. Investors may want to watch the first team's performance. Manchester United opens its season on Sunday, August 12 in the Football Associations Community Shield match against cross-town and bitter rivals Manchester City. City, the defending Premier League champions, will be looking to make a quick start to the season and the match will likely be great publicity for both clubs.
By playing in high profile games early in the season, Manchester United will probably reap extra television rights revenue and boost its top line. Manchester United then opens up its Barclays (NYSE: BCS) Premier League season on August 20 against Everton FC. The September 23 match against Liverpool FC, owned by the Fenway Sports Group, should be the club's first real test and pits decade-long rivals against each other in a match at the historic Anfield grounds in Liverpool.
Investors may also want to watch the signings that the club makes. In football, the signing of new players is called transfers, not just free agents, because clubs can actually buy the contract of another club's player out and then sign them. For example, Manchester United recently bought Shinji Kagawa, one of Japan's best players at the moment from German outfit Borussia Dortmund for a minimum fee of $26.5 million, depending on performance and other factors.
Manchester United priced its shares below the expected range of $16-20, but this was not due to weak demand. Rather, this lower pricing was likely intended to price the stock fairly and allow fans and investors to have a full take up. With lots of debt on its balance sheet, some equity researchers have expressed a view that the stock is still overpriced at $14. For example, Morningstar said it believes that the fair value of the stock is $10.
During the first day of trading, shares never fell below $14 and held within a five cent range. According to Reuters, the company overestimated the support shares would receive after market open. Finance professor Tim Jenkinson of the University of Oxford said, "It's surprising to me that they got it away given the structure. The ownership structure seems inappropriate to me for this sort of company. I don't see much in it for the outside investor who has no control." Reuters also reported that it expected a $50 million loss in proceeds for the club due to these factors, as Manchester United is the first sports club stock to go public in about a decade.
Manchester United shares opened for trading higher from the IPO price at $14.05 per share and have settled to $14 at the time of this writing.
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