Manchester United owners revive $1 billion IPO plan - report

LONDON (Reuters) - The American owners of English Premier League soccer champions Manchester United have reactivated an earlier plan to float its shares on the stock market in Singapore following improved market conditions, the Sunday Times reported.

The Florida-based Glazer family is looking to raise up to 600 million pounds by selling 25 to 30 percent of the club via an initial public offering that would value it at up to 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion), the newspaper said.

A spokesman for Manchester United said, "We don't comment on this sort of speculation".

Manchester United had eyed a $1 billion floatation in Singapore last year but shelved it due to market volatility, a source close to the IPO told Reuters in September.

In recent months, bankers have told Reuters they expect the deal to be revived this year. Formula One motor racing is also reported to be looking at floating in Singapore this year.

United won the English league title for a record 19th time last season and are top of the table again in the closing weeks of the current campaign.

However, a vocal group of fans have criticised the Glazers for loading the club up with too much debt. The Glazers bought United in 2005 and also own NFL team Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The independent Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) said a floatation would be one way of trying to allow fans to build up a meaningful stake in the club.

"If they are coming back with the same sort of inflated valuation and the same sort of proposal, including non-voting shares, then they should expect the same negative response from the market as last time," said MUST Chief Executive Duncan Drasdo.

"If instead they have learned their lesson and decide to offer a substantial proportion of full voting shares at a reasonable valuation and this is a pre-cursor to a full sale, then this could be enthusiastically welcomed by United supporters worldwide," he added.

English soccer is widely followed around the globe, and a survey by Forbes magazine estimated that United had as many as 333 million fans.

(Reporting by Keith Weir and Tom Bergin, editing by Jane Baird)

  • Popular hot yoga myths debunked 5 hours ago
    Popular hot yoga myths debunked

    What’s the hottest new workout taking the world by storm? That would be hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. Conducted in a heated room with sweltering temperatures of about 40°C (or approximately 104° Fahrenheit) and 40 per cent humidity, … Continue reading →

  • Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report 5 hours ago
    Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 17 hours ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern
    Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern

    A new picture of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who is now 90 years old, has drawn concern from people on Singapore's internet space.

  • Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls
    Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls

    After being photographed at work in Jurong pooling used oil near coffee shops, 50-year-old Valerie Sim has been struggling to keep her family afloat. Web portals STOMP and The Real Singapore published pictures of her in February, triggering a witch hunt for others like her and comments from readers like “Who knows if they’ll use it as cooking oil?” Some readers also said they filed police reports against her and other people they believed were doing the same thing she was.

  • Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake
    Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military commander said critics who called him out for wearing an especially luxurious watch should be quiet because the timepiece is actually a cheap Chinese fake.