Manchester United profits dive

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The Independent Online

Manchester United counted the cost of a slide in media income today after profits for the first half of its financial year more than halved.

Manchester United counted the cost of a slide in media income today after profits for the first half of its financial year more than halved.

The figure of £12.4 million for the six months to January 31 was down on the £26.8 million of a year earlier, reflecting a new television deal and the impact of the club's third place Premiership finish on earnings from the Champions League.

The club described the period as "challenging" and said it had been made "even more difficult" by speculation surrounding takeover proposals from Malcolm Glazer, the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who holds 28.1% of the club but has seen his bid interest draw strong protests from supporters.

United did not provide details of any developments in the saga, following its agreement in February to allow Mr Glazer to carry out limited due diligence.

While the US tycoon's representatives are believed to have gone through United's books, it is thought a severe bout of appendicitis for Mr Glazer's son Joel - the driving force behind the bid - has delayed the process.

Despite the drop in media income, United said it enjoyed strong matchday and commercial revenues during the first half of the financial year. Total turnover was down slightly on a year earlier at £91.6 million.

There was also a rise in staff costs, up to £42.7 million from £37.7 million and representing 46.6% of turnover compared with 40.8% last year.

The signing of striker Wayne Rooney in the summer was among factors for the rise, while the former Everton player had an impact on United's bottom-line showing as the transfer required a one-off charge of £1.8 million.

Stripping out the item and other exceptional charges, United's operating profits were £28.4 million, against £39.7 million a year earlier.

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