Manchester United put Singapore IPO on hold

Manchester United put Singapore IPO on hold

United have put plans for a 1 billion US Dollars flotation in Singapore on hold due to market volatility.

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  • Agencies
  • Last Updated: September 21, 2011, 1:42 PM IST
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London: English Premier League soccer champions Manchester United have put immediate plans for a 1 billion US Dollars flotation in Singapore on hold due to market volatility but still plan a listing before the end of the year, a source close to the IPO said.

"They are not ready to go because of the way the markets are looking. Whilst they've got the approval for listing they certainly don't have the intention to go immediately and they're biding their time," the source said, adding that a launch was off the table for at least a week.

"Quarter four is still possible," the source said. United had originally targeted a mid-October float.

The club received permission from the Singapore Exchange earlier in September for the IPO, which will have a two-tier structure including non-voting preference shares.

Equity fund-raising worldwide has pretty much ground to a halt as stock markets, which slumped in early August, have yo-yoed on euro zone debt worries. Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) is still around 13.5 percent lower than it was at the start of August, depressing the likely valuation achievable by companies hoping to list.

Although equity capital market activity in Asia has shown signs of picking up sooner than either Europe and the US, with a string of companies announcing plans for share sales in Hong Kong, the uncertain outlook means many companies would rather hold off until things are more stable.

The club was bought by the Florida-based Glazers for 790 million Pounds ($1.4 billion) in 2005 when they de-listed the club from the London Stock Exchange.

The owning Glazer family wants to raise 1 billion US Dollars to help to cut debts, which were 458.9 million Pounds on June 30, but the flotation plans are being delayed because of the wider economic instability.

If the reigning Premier League champions do not list by the end of the year, they will have to seek an extension.

The Glazers, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, plan to remain in control of United by only making between 25 percent and 30 percent of the club available.

United's planned listing values the club at far more than the 1.9 billion US Dollars valuation by Forbes magazine, which has ranked it as football's most valuable team for the last seven years.

United returned to profit in the year to June 30, making 29.7 million Pounds as Alex Ferguson delivered the club's record 19th English title.

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