Manchester United share price falls as fans continue protest
Manchester United’s share price has continued to fall following their summer floatation on the New York Stock Exchange.
Initially priced at $14 a share, they have plummeted (at the time of writing) 10 percent to $12.60.
The listing is just the latest of many management decisions that have proved deeply unpopular with the club’s loyal fan base and have led to mass protest by Manchester United supporters world-wide.
Malcolm Glazer, the US shopping magnate and Tampa Bay Buccaneer owner who controversially gained total control of the club against the wishes of fans in 2005, sold 16.7 million shares or a 10 percent stake in the company on the 10th of August, raising $233.3 million.
Of this, $116.6 million will go straight into the pockets of the Glazer family with the other $116.6 million being split between reducing the pre-IPO debt from $682 million to $582 million, and the rest toward acquiring new players and paying existing players’ salaries. Although the debt reduction is welcomed, when the floatation plans were initially unveiled, it was announced that all $233.3 million was to be used to reduce the clubs debt.
The Glazers have also taken steps to cement their ownership of the club. Under the terms of the IPO, the publically available class A shares carry 10 times less voting rights than the Glazer owned class B shares, meaning that investors will have no meaningful control over management decisions.
Not only has this suppressed the price of the shares but it has proved the final straw for some fans. MUST, the Manchester United Supporters Trust, which represents 175,000 Manchester United fans was originally formed to prevent Rupert Murdoch from buying out the club in 1998 and whose aim is for supporters of Manchester United FC to have a meaningful ownership stake in the club have called for an unprecedented sponsor boycott. They issued this statement.
“The Manchester United Supporters Trust has today called for a worldwide boycott of Manchester United sponsors’ products, with support across the UK, Europe, Asia and the US. The boycott strategy is intended to send a loud and clear message to the Glazer family and club sponsors that, without the support and purchasing power of the fans, the global strength of the Manchester United brand doesn’t actually exist.”