Manchester United Stock Takes a Dive Amidst Reports of the Glazers' Refusal to Sell
In a turbulent week, Manchester United shares have tumbled by over 19%, erasing nearly $740 million from the soccer club's market value. This drastic decline follows a report in a UK newspaper suggesting that the club's American owners, the Glazers, have decided to postpone any attempts to sell the organization, at least for the time being.
The stock experienced a steep drop of more than 18% on Tuesday, marking the most significant daily decline since Manchester United's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange back in August 2012. The decline followed a weekend report in the Daily Mail, citing an insider source, that the Glazer family was planning to halt the process of selling the iconic football club. Notably, Monday saw US stock exchanges closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
The Glazers, who assumed control of Manchester United in 2005, had previously indicated in November their openness to exploring "all strategic alternatives," which included seeking new investors or selling the club. Earlier this year, multiple reports indicated that the Glazers were seeking a sale price ranging from $7.2 billion to $9.6 billion. The Daily Mail reported an even more ambitious range, suggesting that the current owners were holding out for bids between £7 billion ($8.8 billion) and £10 billion ($12.5 billion).
The Glazers have been widely unpopular among many of Manchester United's estimated 1.1 billion fans worldwide, primarily due to the substantial debt burden incurred during their leveraged buyout of the club. Additionally, the club has not secured a trophy since 2017 and currently resides in the 11th position in the English Premier League.
In June, Manchester United reported a revenue of £481 million ($604 million) for the nine-month period ending on March 31, 2023, along with an operating loss of nearly £11 million ($14 million). For the full fiscal year, the club projected record revenue ranging from £630 million to £640 million ($803 million).
The club's supporters are likely to be disappointed by the apparent inability to finalize a sale. Mark Middling, an assistant professor at Newcastle Business School, commented that there has been ongoing criticism of the Glazer ownership for several years, and fans had hoped for a more prosperous future under new ownership.
Manchester United shares continued to decline, slipping by an additional 1% on Wednesday. The club was valued at $3.15 billion at the close of trading on Tuesday.
Last November, Manchester United announced that its owners were exploring the possibility of selling the club, attracting interest from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe and Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, among others. However, the Glazers reportedly did not receive the "multiple serious bidders" they had anticipated, and the Daily Mail suggests they may revisit the idea of selling the club in 2025.