manchester united are for sale. The Glazer family, who have owned United since 2005, have announced that it is exploring “strategic options to enhance the club’s growth”, but Take away the carefully layered lines of statement and one word jumps straight out – sales.,
has since angered United’s supporters by heavily borrowing against the club – who were then debt-free, but Latest financial statement reveals net debt of £514.9 million – to fund its acquisition 17 years ago, the American family that also owns tampa bay buccaneers The NFL franchise has repeatedly stated that it is a long-term owner and has no intention of selling.
but less than a month later liverpool Were Acquired by their US owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) for £4.4 billion, United is still on the market and is likely to at least double in price. it means that Premier LeagueTwo of the biggest and most historically successful clubs now have an uncertain future.
So what’s the story behind the Glazers’ decision to invite an offer to United and what happens next?
Why are the Glazers selling Man United now?
There are many factors. There is no one particularly central reason, but a combination of various factors has affected the Glazers’ ability to run a club as large as United.
Mainly, it’s about the money. The Glazers need at least £200m to upgrade Old Trafford, which is the Premier League’s biggest stadium but its facilities have fallen behind those Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, armory and Liverpool.
They spent more than £200 million on new contracts this summer despite slowing commercial revenues due to a lack of success – there has been no trophy since winning the Europa League in 2017 – and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
United announced a net loss of £115.5m for the previous season, so the walls were closing in on the Glazers. They can’t just rebuild Old Trafford, sign the best players and reduce their debt. And with interest rates rising rapidly around the world right now, borrowing has become a more expensive option. So the need to either attract a wealthy investor to help with all of the above, or just sell, is obvious.
The vocal and visible anti-Glazer campaign led by United’s supporters is another factor. While the Glazers have largely endured opposition throughout their time as owners, fans’ groups believe their campaign is making United a less attractive vehicle for potential sponsors – whose money is spent on the Glazers’ club. rely on to drive the revenue of
And another important element in the decision is sales. Chelsea, Suddenly, elite football clubs have a benchmark to measure their own worth and the Glazers know that United can be Up to four times the final Chelsea sale price of £2.5bn,
Is Man United really up for sale?
All options are on the table. Sources have told ESPN that the Glazers place a huge premium on the fame that comes with owning this famous club, so the ideal scenario would be to attract an investor or partner who would solve their financial issues and allow them to enjoy their ownership. Will leave to continue taking. club.
But as one financial expert involved in football ownership told ESPN, “those unicorns don’t exist.”
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Quite simply, if anyone has money to invest in United, they want to have a say in how it is run and the Glazers can’t expect bailouts and free rein.
A major indicator towards the Glazers’ true motives is the recruitment of an American bank, the Rhine Group. Raine was hired by Roman Abramovich to find a buyer for Chelsea earlier this year and has dealt with more than 200 incoming expressions of interest.
Several high-net-worth individuals and private equity funds eventually shortlisted to buy Chelsea, but missed out on the leadership consortium. los angeles dodgers Co-owner Todd Bohli.
But through that process, Rhine now has a list of ultra-wealthy potential buyers for United on speed dial, and the Glazers know it. He must have seen the interest in Chelsea and realized he could sell United quickly and make a huge profit.
Although the final cost of their takeover in 2005 was £790 million, the Glazers only invested £270 million – the other £520 million was leveraged against United’s financial strength – so a multi-billion pound sale would take them away. A huge return on their initial outlay.
How is this different from the situation in Liverpool?
Most of the work has already been done for the new owners. Under FSG, Liverpool have achieved great success, including winning Champions League and the Premier League, with smart recruitment, a new training ground and the revival of Anfield, with astute financial decisions and ongoing investment away from the pitch.
FSG have turned Liverpool into a successful machine by buying the club for £300m in 2010, but despite turning around Liverpool’s fortunes, the challenge of keeping pace with state-owned clubs such as Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain And Newcastle United Things are getting tough and FSG are now looking to get out before the upward trajectory begins to flat-line and potentially reduce the club’s value by around £4bn.
Under the Glazers, United have traveled in stark contrast to Liverpool under FSG. Where FSG inherited a mess, a club unable to recreate its glorious past, the Glazers bought a footballing and commercial juggernaut that was a world leader on and off the pitch.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013, success on the pitch has dried up and the Glazers haven’t displayed any of the smart, strategic decisions that defined Liverpool’s ownership of FSG. In recent years, the Glazers have wasted huge amounts of money on signings and wages in an attempt to make United successful again and have reached the point where they can no longer chase losses.
FSG is selling Liverpool because it has made them a success story, but at a time when it knows it will be difficult to continue that success.
Meanwhile, the Glazers have run out of options and any new United owners will have to rebuild a crumbling empire.
How much are Man United really worth?
Speaking to ESPN earlier this month, Chris Mann, head of mergers and acquisitions at Sportsology, a global sports advisory group based in New York and London, spoke of the “scarcity value” of elite football clubs to potential investorsThe prospect of owning United would therefore generate huge interest and, in turn, increase the club’s valuation.
The recent sale of two storied sports teams earlier this year provides a good guide to United’s value. Chelsea were sold for £2.5 billion (Bohli’s group pledged £1.75 billion in further investment), while denver broncos The NFL franchise changed hands in a deal worth a total of £3.95bn.
Chelsea and the Broncos are both big, well-known brands, but the Broncos are not the Dallas Cowboys and Chelsea are not Manchester United. It would be like comparing a Chevrolet to a Ferrari.
Sources have told ESPN that Liverpool are likely to attract a £4million valuation, but United could go up to £8million. Why? Behind United’s enormous global power is the potential new owners’ ability to generate huge revenue streams.
Even though United have been a failed venture on the pitch for the last 10 years, they remain a grade “A” sports brand and sponsors are willing to pay a fortune to be associated with them. United are the biggest houses on the city’s most prestigious street and when they become available, someone will pay whatever it takes to buy them.
What will a new buyer get?
The self-proclaimed world’s biggest football club, the opportunity to make huge money behind it, the prospect of glory that comes with winning the Premier League and Champions League – and a rebuilding job on and off the pitch that could cost half a billion pounds.
However, if you have the funds to buy United, the amount of tweaks that will be needed to bring everything up to scratch may not be too much of a problem.
The first task will be to restore Old Trafford to its previous status as the best stadium in the Premier League. The roof of the Main Stand leaks when it rains and is a perfect metaphor for the state of the stadium after 17 years of Glazer neglect. It will cost at least £200m to upgrade the facilities and probably more if the new owners have more ambitious plans than the Glazers, who only need to carry out repair works that have been neglected for so many years.
A new training ground, or modernisation, would set any new owner back hundreds of millions.
And manager Erik ten Haag will also have a hefty bill when it comes to building a squad deep enough and good enough that United once won with unerring regularity.
While ownership of United would therefore undoubtedly bring prestige to any new owner, it would not be without teething problems and would require spending much more than the acquisition fee.
Who can buy Man United?
The field of potential new owners in the Premier League has narrowed significantly in recent months.
Russian oligarchs are on the sidelines due to sanctions imposed by Western governments as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while a wave of Chinese investment in major European clubs has stalled since the pandemic and its government limits.
Sovereign wealth funds, such as Manchester City (Abu Dhabi), Paris Saint-Germain (Queue) and Newcastle (Saudi Arab) cannot own more than one club in the same competition (Premier League or Champions League), which will affect the list.
But as the sale process for Chelsea has shown, there is no shortage of wealthy individuals and groups in the United States and it is the most likely place for the next United owners to emerge.
Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe has already gone public with his interest in buying UnitedBut said earlier this season the Glazers had made it clear they did not want to sell.
With a personal fortune of over £5bn, the boyhood United fan, who failed to buy Chelsea earlier this year, is seen as a supporters’ pick because of his ties to the club. But Ratcliffe, who owns the French team GoodRich can outdo rivals.
Another major bidder for Chelsea was the Ricketts family, who owned chicago cubs, It partnered with Ken Griffin, the majority shareholder in hedge fund group Citadel, whose personal wealth is reported to exceed £20bn.
Ares Management, an investment firm based in Los Angeles, recently revealed its ambition to add a European football club to its portfolio.
In 2021, 15 clubs in Europe’s five big leagues – England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy – were either acquired or invested in, and two-thirds of those involved were US individuals or groups .
So while an incredibly wealthy individual or sovereign wealth fund may yet potentially emerge as a buyer for United from India, Dubai or the oil-rich former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, the smart money isn’t United’s American rival. On the owners being bought by another. American Group.