Tuesday, August 21, 2012

George Soros Discloses 2% stake in Manchester United (NYSE:MANU)

Billionaire investor George Soros has bought a near 2 percent stake in British football club Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU), a U.S. regulatory filing showed on Monday.

Soros Fund Management LLC bought 3.1 million Class A shares in the club, the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed.

Class A shares carry less voting power than Class B shares. At Monday’s closing price, Soros' stake was worth about $41 million.

Manchester's advent on the stock exchange has been less than impressive. It listed on August 10, with a lot of hype expected from the iconic club but failed to live up to expectations.

The stock has slid about 6.7 percent since then, chiefly on concerns about its debt and how the Glazer family, which owns it and has controlled it since 2005 will be able to reduce it.

The Glazer family also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers American football franchise.

About half of the $233m that the club raised from its flotation will go towards paying off the club's debts, while the rest of it will go to the Glazers.

Shares of MANU are up 1.23% to $13.22. Yesterday, the stock made a record low of $12.80.

Soros who oversees $25bn in assets through his investment fund has in the past eyed other football clubs as lucrative investments, such as Italian club AS Roma in 2008 but decided against it due to the club's debt problems.

Soros was likely attracted to Manchester United because of the team's profitable media rights deals. Analysts feel that the domestic rights are set to increase 70 percent for the 2013-2014 season and the international media rights, are also expected to come in at a very robust uplift.

Another factor behind Soros' decision could be the growing popularity of football in the US. 

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