Man Utd in new bid battle as Glazer tries again

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The American tycoon Malcolm Glazer is preparing a £780m hostile bid for Manchester United after dramatically forcing three of the club's directors off the board.

The American tycoon Malcolm Glazer is preparing a £780m hostile bid for Manchester United after dramatically forcing three of the club's directors off the board.

The Glazer family was stung by the resignation of its banking and public relations advisers after the action at United's annual meeting. But The Independent on Sunday has learnt that this had made them all the more determined and they will be back with a bid for the club, whether the board likes it or not.

"They think they can do something. They think they can make this business better. Why tiptoe through the tulips?" said a source close to the Glazer family.

The club has called on the Glazers to make their intentions clear. It is likely that they will make a statement early this week saying that they are

still intending to make an offer. Any bid would be led by Malcolm Glazer's two sons, Avi and Joel.

On Friday the Glazers, who own the American football team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, used the 28 per cent stake they have built up in the club to vote three directors off the board - Andy Anson, Maurice Watkins and Philip Yea. This followed the board's rejection of bid approaches by the Glazers, saying that their proposals involved the club taking on too much debt.

United desperately tried to persuade J P McManus and John Magnier, two Irish racehorse owners who collectively own 29 per cent of the club, to support the board. However, the two abstained.

It is understood that the stance of the Irish investors has convinced the Glazers that they are right to challenge the board.

"This is not about the Glazers. This is about the board of Manchester United," said the source. "Only 14 per cent of shareholders supported the board. How come the Glazers are the bad guys?"

United has seen the resignation of the Glazers' bank, JP Morgan Chase, as a blow. This view is not shared in the Glazer camp, as JP Morgan has been working with the family only since the summer, when it replaced former bankers Commerzbank. "Finding a new bank is not going to be a problem. Finding the money is not going to be a problem," said the source.

The Glazer family offered 300p a share to Mr McManus and Mr Magnier, but the Irish balked at conditions attached to the offer, which dealt with gaining control of the club. The Glazers believe that a fresh 300p offer with no strings would win over the Irish duo. This would value Man United at £780m, some £40m higher than its value on Friday night.

Business, page 2

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