David Prosser: Manchester United owners need to avoid own goal
Outlook One can quite see why Manchester United's owners are keen to sell a stake in the club on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Yesterday's first quarter trading update revealed that they are doing more business in Asia – and enjoying a boost to revenues from those deals. The update also reveals the club lostalmost £7m over the three months to September, but that it would have been profitable without the costs of servicing its debt pile. A partial flotation would allow it to pay borrowings down.
Since the Glazer family received permission in September to float the club in Singapore, we have heard little more about their plans. That no doubt reflects the volatility that has swept global stock markets since then – these are hardly the conditions anyone would choose to float a business into if they did not need to.
Let us hope, however, that the delay has given the Glazers time to do some thinking. Yesterday's healthy update is further evidence that they are not the irresponsible owners of the club that many fans expected them to be. That may be part of the reason why opposition to their stewardship has slowly dwindled. It would be a shame, however, if the Glazers' good work was jeopardised by them insisting on a dual share structure post flotation, in which only their own shares carried voting rights. That's the expectation in the market, but it would be poor corporate governance.
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