Glazer raises United stake with £10m investment

Malcolm Glazer, the American sports tycoon who has been stockpiling Manchester United shares since last year, announced yesterday that he has increased his stake to 18.25 per cent of the club. He has paid around £10m to buy 4.1m extra shares, including 1m shares from Maurice Watkins, a non-executive United director who is also the club's solicitor.

Glazer, who owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said last month that he had "no current plans" to launch a takeover bid for United. That statement is unlikely to prevent fresh speculation about a potential bid, although any offer for the club would be unlikely to be successful in the near future.

The club's major shareholders, John Magnier and J P McManus, own 28.89 per cent of United via their investment vehicle, Cubic Expression. Glazer would need to buy Cubic's holding to facilitate a takeover but it is understood that the Irish racing tycoons have no intention of diluting their holding. They, like Glazer, see United as a profitable, debt-free business with scope for expansion.

As such, it is a sound investment. And unlike Glazer, Cubic is in ongoing negotiations to gain representation on the United board, which would give them a greater day-to-day say in the club's affairs.

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