Singapore: English Premier League football champions Manchester United have received permission from the Singapore Exchange for a planned 1 billion dollar listing, a source briefed on the deal told Reuters on Friday.
"Yes, it is approved," the source told Reuters. The company has hired Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase to manage its IPO, for which premarketing is expected to start in mid-September.
The source declined to be named because the process is not public. The listing of one of the world's biggest soccer clubs is seen as a coup for the Singapore Exchange, which competes against Hong Kong for listings.
But the club's plan to use a two-tier system of shares to ensure the Glazer family retains control has drawn criticism from investors and fans alike.
The family bought the club in 2005. Lawyers have said it is likely the club will make a significant part of its offering in preference shares, which are shares that carry no voting rights, but get priority over ordinary shares for dividend payments and in the event of liquidation.
Manchester United is expected to list common shares as well as preferred shares in the management company, IFR Asia reported earlier this week.
The football club wants to raise cash to help reduce almost 500 million dollars in debt. Its choice of Singapore was aimed at expanding the club's huge Asian fan base as well as tapping the region's stronger growth and investment climate.
The Red Devils, a nickname given to the club by its fans, have spent the past few weeks courting Asia's major institutional and sovereign investors including Singapore state investor Temasek, sources told Reuters earlier.