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Old 9th May 2005, 09:17   #1
TanyaT
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Default Board resists latest Glazer bid for club

Board resists latest Glazer bid for club
Manchester United's board says Glazers' offering price is fair but balks at proposal to saddle the club with debt.

By Stephanie Murphy, Palm Beach Daily News
Monday, May 09, 2005

The Glazer men Malcolm and his sons, Joel and Avi, of Palm Beach have been castigated for months by the British press and soccer fans whose goal has been to undermine the family's third bid for the Manchester United soccer club.
Death threats did not discourage the Glazers from handing the team's board of directors a $1.53 billion revised bid two weeks ago, one which was hammered out in the months since the Glazers' advisers were allowed to examine the debt-free books of the world's most lucrative "football" club.
Board members called the bid fair but would not recommend its acceptance. A panel of take-over regulators has given the Glazers until May 17 to make a formal bid to the club's shareholders. By panel rules, if the Glazers don't comply, they'd have to wait six months to bid again.
Directors had no quarrel with the offering price, but said the bid's revised capital structure was troubling. The Glazers proposed to tag the club's books with $562.5 million of debt and raise the remaining $937.5 million in bank loans. NM Rothschild and J.P.Morgan are the plan's financial backers.
Man U also rebuffed the Glazers' earlier two bids. And as hard as the Glazers have pursued the 127-year-old club, irate fans have remained vehemently opposed claiming that the Americans expect to pay down their debt by hiking ticket prices and investing less in soccer talent.

Fan group prefers Dubai deal
Shareholders United, a fan-based trust working to undermine the Americans, apparently favors an overture from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, who is said to be preparing to top the Glazers' offer by about 16 percent.
"We don't think it would be healthy to have any single owner . . . But from what we hear about Sheikh Mohammed, he would be the gentleman to Glazer's scoundrel," vice-chairman Oliver Houston said on tribalfootball.com.
While the Glazers and their advisers are in England working to move the Manchester plan forward, some Florida media have lobbed salvos at their absence this week to support Tampa's bid for Super Bowl 2009.
The owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "and his ducklets couldn't make it" to a bowl task-force summit, according to TBO.com, Tampa Bay Online. Their absence was "glaring, especially when accompanied by the basic Glazer explanation that what they do is none of our business." The city built the Bucs a football stadium and made the Glazers "richer than many small countries," TBO.com said, "... but the Glazers have a penchant for going where they aren't wanted while ignoring where they are needed most."
Malcolm Glazer continues to decline to comment on his pursuit of the team.

Pivotal stake for sale
Cubic Expression, an investment entity headed by Irish racehorse owners J.P. McManus and John Magnier, holds the soccer club's largest share bloc, 28.89 percent. The pair profess long-term interest in the club, and although they have turned down offers from Glazer, they say their pivotal stake is for sale at the right price. If the Irishmen sell, the Glazers would be closer to a 75.1 percent controlling interest.
Shareholders United, the fans' support group, also has been courting Cubic Expression's bloc. With the backing of Japanese investment bank Nomura, the group set up a trust to expand fans' ownership. Nomura reportedly has agreed to evenly match money invested in the trust or in United shares.
The group's goal is to buy a 25 percent stake to block the Glazers' takeover. Club records indicate there are about 30,000 individual shareholders who own 18 percent of the club.
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