Manchester United has been put up for sale – the club’s owners the Glazer family have confirmed.
Reports emerged earlier on Tuesday that the Glazers had begun the process of seeking outside investment, either as a partial sale or a full-scale takeover – on the same day the club terminated the contract of Cristiano Ronaldo. A statement issued by the Glazers to the New York Stock Exchange has clarified the reports and confirmed the next steps the club are taking in the process.
The statement read: ”
Manchester United plc, one of the most successful and historic sports clubs in the world, announces today that the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) is commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club.
“The process is designed to enhance the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalise on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.
“As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company. This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.
“Executive Co-Chairmen and Directors, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said “The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers. As we seek to continue building on the Club’s history of success, the Board has authorised a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
Manchester United fans have staged numerous protests against the Glazer’s ownership of the club ( Image: Getty Images)
“We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximises the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future. Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
The statement added: “The Raine Group is acting as the Company’s exclusive financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP is legal counsel to the Company. Rothschild and Co. is acting as exclusive financial advisor to the Glazer family shareholders.
“There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the Company. Manchester United does not intend to make further announcements regarding the review unless and until the Board has approved a specific transaction or other course of action requiring a formal announcement.”
The Glazers have presided over an ill-fated 17-year reign of United since their leveraged buyout of the club was completed in May 2005. Sections of United fans have continually protested against the Glazers throughout that time in dispute of their use of loans which has loaded the club with debt worth around £500million and cost over £1billion to service.
The American tycoons have also frequently taken dividends out of United despite putting little of their own money into the club. In recent years, the protests against the Glazers’ ownership have become more prevalent and fierce, with fans breaking into Old Trafford and forcing the postponement of the match against
Liverpool in May last year the tip of the iceberg.
Various pundits have hit out at the Glazers, particularly Gary Neville, who criticised the way they had let the club fall behind their rivals with a lack of investment in the stadium and training facilities. Those factors were a point of discussion in the explosive interview which led to Ronaldo’s exit, after the striker
claimed the Glazers “don’t care” about the club.