Glazer backers linked to hedge fund that ousted Börse bosses

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The Independent Online

Two of the hedge funds bankrolling Malcolm Glazer's £790m takeover of Manchester United have links to the hedge fund that orchestrated the removal of the chairman and chief executive of the German stock exchange Deutsche Börse, it emerged yesterday.

Two of the hedge funds bankrolling Malcolm Glazer's £790m takeover of Manchester United have links to the hedge fund that orchestrated the removal of the chairman and chief executive of the German stock exchange Deutsche Börse, it emerged yesterday.

The US sports tycoon's bid for United is being financed partly though a £275m issue of preference shares to three New York-based funds - Citadel, Och-Ziff Capital Management and Perry Capital.

The three funds have about $35bn (£19bn) of funds under management and are known for taking aggressive positions in vulnerable companies. Two are also connected to The Children's Investment fund (TCI), the London-based but Bermuda-registered hedge fund which led the campaign against Deutsche Börse's chief executive Werner Seifert and its chairman Rolf Breuer.

The managers of TCI are former employees of Perry Capital whilst Och-Ziff shares a London office with TCI in Mayfair. The unmasking of the three funds could expose them to the threat of reprisals from militant Manchester United fans incensed at the Glazer takeover.

Elsewhere in the City, there is anger over the way in which JP Morgan, the parent company of United's financial advisers Cazenove, helped fund the takeover of the club. JP Morgan provided the £265m debt facility which is being used to finance the deal.

Sir Roy Gardner, the club's chairman, is understood to have vented his anger at the arrangement, saying JP Morgan Cazenove's first loyalty should have been to Manchester United. The dispute could also jeopardise Cazenove's role as joint broker to Centrica, where Sir Roy is chief executive. Cazenove has lost a string of blue-chip clients since forging the link-up last year with JP Morgan.

The Glazer camp is expected to lift its shareholding in United above the key 75 per cent threshold today, allowing it to delist the company from the stock market. As of Friday night, Mr Glazer owned 74.8 per cent of the club. The United board is likely to issue a brief statement "reluctantly" advising those shareholders who have not sold out to accept the Glazer bid; however, it will still not recommend the offer.

Mr Glazer's offer document providing further details of the bid will be sent out to shareholders on Wednesday. It will disappoint those looking for guarantees from Mr Glazer on ticket prices and the availability of transfer funds. The document will simply state that Mr Glazer intends to respect the traditions of the club, without going into detail.

The owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will wait until after this weekend's FA Cup final in which United play Arsenal and the close of the offer period before attempting to build bridges with fans. One adviser in the Glazer camp said: "Almost anything he said now would be regarded as inflammatory and would be used against him. It would be an own goal to do anything in the run-up to the Cup Final."

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