Manchester United IPO prices below range

Shares in Manchester United start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the symbol MANU. (File)

Story highlights

  • Shares in Manchester United's IPO were priced at $14, below the price range initially set
  • The club and its owners will raise around $234m from the sale of 16.7m shares
  • Half the proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down the club's outstanding debt
  • When the shares start trading on Friday it will mark the biggest sports listing on record
Shares in Manchester United's initial public offering were priced at $14, below the $16 to $20 price range that underwriting banks had initially set.
The lower price means the football club and its owners will raise around $234m from the sale of 16.7m shares. That is nearly $100m lower than the $330m implied at the top end of the price range.
It also means that the Glazer family, who have owned the club since 2005, will raise $117m gross, lower than original hopes. However, underwriters retain the option to sell an additional 2.5m shares on behalf of the "selling shareholder", which could raise an extra $35m.
Half of the proceeds from the share sale are to be used to pay down the club's large outstanding debt.
When the shares start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the symbol MANU, it will mark the biggest sports listing on record, surpassing World Wrestling Federation's $190m IPO in 1999, according to Thomson Reuters.
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The lower pricing came after the order book was closed at noon rather than at the conclusion of business on Thursday.
The IPO in New York comes after previous attempts to list in Hong Kong and Singapore failed to attract sufficient demand. Investors also objected to the planned dual voting share structure.
"The US market for IPOs is deep in terms of liquidity and certainty of execution," said Scott Cutler, co-head of US listings at NYSE Euronext.
He said that attracting Manchester United to the NYSE showed that the exchange occupied a strong position in the IPO market.
Manchester United's dual class voting structure will enable the Glazer family to retain control through shares that have 10 times more voting power than the publicly traded class A shares.
Also, the company has indicated that it may provide limited financial disclosure for US investors as it is raising capital as an "emerging growth" company under the recently passed US legislation Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or Jobs Act.
The law means a company can be exempted from attesting to its internal financial controls and will not be required to file quarterly reports or release information under generally accepted accounting principles for five years.
Manchester United added: "We have not taken advantage of any of these reduced reporting burdens in this prospectus, although we may choose to do so in future filings and if we do, the information that we provide shareholders may be different than you might get from other public companies in which you hold equity."
Ahead of the pricing, analysts had said the price range was too high as it implied an expensive enterprise value to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of more than 20 times.
"We see good growth potential in the business ... but we believe the midpoint of the IPO valuation range overstates the economic opportunity," said Morningstar.