Manchester United Goes Public

Manchester United is going to go public in Singapore with hopes to raise $1 billion from the offering by the end of the year.

The team was previously owned by the Glazer family, who bought the team in 2005. The family is now ready to sell 25% of the team, after years of plaguing debt problems.

The decision to list on the Singapore stock exchange is yet another example of the popularity of the English Premier League in Asia. The Wall Street Journal reports that almost two-thirds of Manchester’s 300 millions fans live in Asia.

I’m skeptical that this ploy to attract die-hard fans to sink their money in the team will work all that well. Sports teams rarely do well when they are public (with some notable exclusions like the Green Bay Packers) and even intense fans can see that the team’s financials are less than ideal. Manchester is in $1 billion of debt and while the team earned $47 million last year before interest and tax, reports show that its interest expense was $119 million.

What do you think this means for the club? Would you invest?

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