Manchester United, arguably the world’s most supported and followed soccer club, has announced they will list as a public company in the United States, and offer shares to its fan base worldwide.
The club originally planned to list in Singapore, but changed strategy given volatility in the Asian markets– most specifically in Hong Kong– during the course of 2011.
The Glazer family– who also own the NFL‘s Tampa Bay Buccaneers– purchased Manchester United in 2005, and took on a substantial amount of existing debt which they have desperately been trying to erase from the books since.
An IPO estimated at close to $1 billion is one way to take out a big chunk of this debt immediately, and continue to leverage Man U as one of the most solvent and well-followed organizations in professional sports.
Business websites note that the Glazer family is looking to sell Class B shares in the club which would give shareholders limited to no voting rights in club operations, similar to the rights shareholders of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers enjoy via their own stake in one of pro football’s most popular franchises.
Forbes values Man U at $1.86 billion, making it the most valuable sports property in the world.
Love them or hate them, Manchester United is making the moves necessary to continue to stay one step ahead of the proverbial pack.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.