Glazer to hike ticket prices at Man Utd

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The Independent Online

Malcolm Glazer, the US sports tycoon, will raise ticket prices at Old Trafford to reflect the strong demand for seats from fans, if he wins his £800m bid for Manchester United.

Malcolm Glazer, the US sports tycoon, will raise ticket prices at Old Trafford to reflect the strong demand for seats from fans, if he wins his £800m bid for Manchester United.

The owner of American Football team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is expected to put his offer to the board of Man Utd this week after his bankers, NM Rothschild, completed an intensive study of the club's books last weekend.

Mr Glazer is prepared to offer at least 300p a share, valuing Man Utd at £800m. Although the club's shares closed at 281.5p on Friday, the board is almost certain to reject the bid.

However, Mr Glazer, who owns 28.1 per cent of Man Utd, does not need the board's agreement if he can persuade the 28.9 per cent shareholder Cubic Expression, the vehicle of Irish racehorse owners JP McManus and John Magnier, to accept his offer.

The duo have kept their cards close to their chest but there has been speculation that they would sell out for between 310p and 320p a share.

Sources familiar with Mr Glazer's plans have told The Independent on Sunday that he intends to pursue an "aggressive revenue-generating business plan" if he secures Man Utd.

This would involve increasing the income the club receives from the 68,000-capacity Old Trafford. Man Utd has already said it wants to increase the number of seats to 76,000, but Mr Glazer is also interested in increasing the amount the club makes from each supporter.

Plans for a rise in ticket prices for all fans would prove highly controversial and could further inflame the feelings of supporters who have protested against Mr Glazer's bid.

However, he is looking at increasing the amount paid by corporate ticket holders and those who buy premium packages, which include pre-match catering and entertainment. Mr Glazer is also keen on the idea of differential pricing for big domestic games - such as those against arch-rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool - and top European matches.

Mr Glazer has maintained that he can increase the profitability of Man Utd while still being able to invest heavily in players to keep the club rivalling the best in Europe.

"Malcolm knows that without success on the field, you can't push revenues off it," said a source close to the bid.

Mr Glazer's sons, Joel and Avi, have been fronting the offer for Man Utd. However, Joel's recent appendix operation put him out of action for some time while he recovered.

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