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Old 25th July 2012, 21:49   #1
Paul Brooks

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Default Man Utd pauses US listing plans

Man Utd pauses US listing plans

By Arash Massoudi in New York, Roger Blitz and Anousha Sakoui in London

Manchester United has temporarily paused plans to launch its $300m initial public offering in the US, where market volatility has soared in recent days as macroeconomic fears hit share prices.

The English football club had been looking to begin its investor roadshow as early as Monday of this week, with the aim of pricing and listing its shares in early August.

But United and its bankers are to reconsider when they will begin meeting potential investors later this week, said people familiar with the situation.

Jefferies, the investment bank leading the book running for Unitedís IPO, declined to comment.

The pause comes as US markets have been unsettled by further concerns over debt and economic growth in the eurozone, with the S&P 500 index falling 2 per cent since the start of the week.

The people familiar with Unitedís IPO plans suggested the current delay had to do with market conditions.

The Vix index, a widely monitored measure of implied volatility on the US market, has risen by more than 23 per cent since Monday. Bankers consider a sudden rise in the Vix as a sign of potential risk aversion from investors, making them less likely to participate in new offerings.

It was not immediately clear if United would still attempt to list its shares before the current IPO window closes in mid-August, ahead of the traditional market lull that runs through to the US public holidays in early September.

The club declined to comment.

It has been widely speculated that the club, which is owned by the US-based Glazer family, intends to use the proceeds of the fundraising to pay down the clubís net debt of £425m.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Unitedís manager, has taken his team on a preseason tour of the Asia, which the clubís owners, the US-based Glazer family, have always seen as a market ripe for exploitation.

But, since announcing its intention to go public last year, Manchester United has been forced to abandon plans to list in Hong Kong and then in Singapore after demand for its shares fell short. It had looked to raise as much as $1bn as part of its aborted Singapore float.

Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank are the other banks on the IPO syndicate but all declined to comment.
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