Outlook: Manchester Utd

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The Independent Online
THE PUBLIC outcry over Rupert Murdoch's planned bid for Manchester United has left the little matter of how much the club might be worth largely undebated, outside the boardroom at least. BSkyB is understood to have put pounds 575m on the table, which equates to 221p a share. This is a big premium to the price at which the shares were trading ahead Sky's interest becoming public knowledge, but is it enough?

Not by a long way, seems to be the attitude of Man United directors. The players alone, in the books for nothing, must be worth pounds 100m. On top of that there's an earnings stream of pounds 28m a year, which could soar in the event of pay per view football becoming a reality. Then there is the value of the stadium and other properties.

But most of all, there is that intangible thing, the value of the brand. In this respect, Manchester United, the most famous football club in the world, is unique. It is a trophy asset whose rarity value demands a correspondingly special price. The Man United board cannot settle for anything less than 250p a share.

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