American buys majority share of Manchester United
So what do you guys think? I know we've got some soccer hooligans here. I'm a little hesitant on this, just as I would be if some Brits wanted to buy a baseball team. But I suppose we'll see where this goes.sportsillustrated.com said:Glazer gains control of Man U
Tampa Bay Bucs owner secures majority stake
Posted: Thursday May 12, 2005 10:11AM; Updated: Thursday May 12, 2005 5:21PM
LONDON (AP) -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer gained control of the world's richest soccer team Thursday, drawing resentment from Manchester United fans who fear the "heart and soul" of the storied club has been sold to foreign interests.
Glazer began a $1.47 billion takeover bid of the team by becoming its majority shareholder. His ownership reached 56.9 percent after he bought a 28.7 percent share held by Irish racehorse owners J.P. McManus and John Magnier.
Financial analysts said the deal seemed certain to succeed, and suggested Glazer's ownership could quickly reach the critical 75 percent threshold. At that level, he could take the club private.
Two weeks ago, Man United's board said it would not recommend Glazer's takeover to investors because his business plan appeared "aggressive."
Glazer was given a May 17 deadline to submit a plan or withdraw his attempts to buy the club. Glazer's first two proposals were rejected by the board, which said the package relied too heavily on borrowed money.
"The board awaits the formal terms of the Red Offer and a further announcement will be made once the board has reviewed that announcement," a club statement said.
The Glazer family had no comment, Buccaneers spokesman Jeff Kamis said. Glazer's sons, Joel, Bryan and Edward, are expected to help run the team. Glazer bought his first stake (2.3 percent) in the club in 2003.
"Manchester United's heart and soul has been sold today," former team manager Tommy Docherty said. "It has changed for ever today."
Several hundred fans gathered outside Old Trafford stadium to protest. English fans fear Glazer will raise prices and sell key assets like Old Trafford stadium.
"I'm giving up my season ticket," Shareholders United president Nick Towle said. "I'm not putting a penny of my money into this guy's pocket.
"It's a really sad day for Manchester United, for the supporters, for the whole club and I think it's a sad day for football in general," he added.
Shareholders United represents 17 percent of the club's stockholders, a number estimated at 20,000. Towle said at least half -- and maybe all -- would give up their tickets and stop attending games.
Manchester United dominated English soccer for more than a decade, winning eight Premier League titles in 11 seasons, four FA Cups in 10 and capturing the European championship in 1999.
But the Red Devils are now third in the Premier League for the third time in four years. With a game left, they are 20 points behind champion Chelsea and nine behind runner-up Arsenal. Glazer's move came just before Man United's May 21 FA Cup final against Arsenal, its only chance for a trophy this season.
Glazer offered $5.58 per share, and United share prices rose 13 percent to $5.57 upon news of the sale. Analysts estimated it would take several months to wrap up the deal, with the formal offer going to remaining shareholders.
In a report February by the British accounting firm Deloitte summarizing revenues for the world's top soccer teams, Man United was listed No. 1 for the 2003-04 season at $311 million, followed by Spain's Real Madrid at $283 million.
McManus and Magnier are reported to have made about $186.3 million on the sale. Roy Kaitcer of Manchester stockbrokers Brewin Dolphin Securities said the stake held by the Irishmen was the key to the bid, and Glazer now has a "great platform to start his bid."
"Once other shareholders see what has happened, they will say they better take that as well," he said. "It looks like Mr. Glazer is on his way to owning Manchester United."
Professor Bill J. Gerrard of Leeds University Business School added: "He now controls the destiny of Manchester United. It's as simple as that."
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