Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

United owners warn investors

The Glazers are selling a further five per cent of shares in Manchester United
The Glazers are selling a further five per cent of shares in Manchester United

Manchester United's owners have warned potential investors that the club may fail to attract or retain top players and coaches if they fail to qualify for the Champions League again this coming season.

The Glazer family, who own 90 per cent of the club, have announced plans to sell another five per cent, eight million shares, which would see them earn around 150million US dollars (£89million).

All the proceeds will go to the Glazers' investment vehicle Red Football LLC and not to Manchester United - something that will fuel anger from fans' groups who have often claimed the Glazers are taking money out of the club.

In its prospectus, United has warned of the implications of missing out on the Champions League again and revealed that income from its new 10-year kit deal with adidas will drop 30 per cent from £75million to £52.5million per year if it fails to qualify in two consecutive seasons.

United sacked David Moyes as manager after failing to make it into the elite European club competition last season, and the cost of his successor Louis van Gaal failing to do so again has been made clear to investors.

The prospectus says: "Because of the prestige associated with participating in the European competitions, particularly the Champions League, failure to qualify for any European competition, particularly for consecutive seasons, would negatively affect our ability to attract and retain talented players and coaching staff, as well as supporters, sponsors and other commercial partners.

"Failure to participate in the Champions League for two or more consecutive seasons would also reduce annual payments under the recently announced agreement with adidas by 30 per cent of the applicable payment for the year in which the second or other consecutive season of non-participation falls."

United's combined broadcasting and matchday revenue from Europe was £38.9million, £42.3million and £59.7million for 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Manchester United's shares, which rose sharply after the announcement of the adidas deal earlier in July, closed at 19.31 US dollars in New York on Wednesday.

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