Glazer ups stake in Man United

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The Independent Online

Malcolm Glazer, the US sports tycoon, has raised his stake in Manchester United to 19.17 per cent in a move that will re-ignite speculation of a takeover bid for the football club.

Malcolm Glazer, the US sports tycoon, has raised his stake in Manchester United to 19.17 per cent in a move that will re-ignite speculation of a takeover bid for the football club.

Mr Glazer, who owns American football's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, revealed yesterday he had bought a further 2.41 million shares in the English club. This takes his holding to 50.27 million shares. The entrepreneur has said he has no plans to launch a bid, but a takeover attempt at some time in the future has not been ruled out.

When he first appeared on the United shareholder register, he was an unknown figure to the company. But the board has now made contact with Mr Glazer and a number of its directors have visited him in Florida twice in the past six months. An open dialogue between Mr Glazer and the company is now understood to exist, and sources close to Unitedsaid it believed Mr Glazer does not plan an imminent bid.

The club has been the subject of persistent bid speculation while its two biggest shareholders have built up their stake in recent months.

John Magnier and JP McManus, the Irish racehorse owners, own 28.9 per cent. Their intentions have also been unclear, although it is understood that they are long-term investors. Mr Glazer is expected to raise his stake still further to rival the Irish duo's holding.

Analysts believe a winning bid for Manchester United would have to reach 350p per share, valuing the club at about £928m. But some are sceptical that any bid would be successful at this time. The news, which took some in the City by surprise, did little to effect the shares, which closed up 1p to247p.

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