Red Knights finalise Manchester United takeover plans

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The Independent Online

The Red Knights consortium were meeting today to finalise their plans to launch a takeover of Manchester United.

The group of wealthy United fans have said they do not expect to make a bid for the club before the end of the season but they are now drawing up a detailed battle plan.

The talks were to confirm exactly where the money will come from to fund a bid and to determine the level of fan involvement in the proposed ownership structure.

A key discussion was also to focus on the £509million bond taken out by the Glazer family who currently own United - it is likely any takeover bid would have to entail retaining the bond.

Investment bank Nomura have been advising both the Red Knights and the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) who have been broadly backing the takeover bid.

A source close to the talks told Press Association Sport: "We are now developing the financial model before making a bid. This is very much getting into the details of funding and future ownership."

The consortium includes Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill, a former United director, and Mark Rawlinson, a partner at leading London law firm Freshfields.

The Glazers bought United for £800million in 2005 but loaded debt on to the club - the total debt on the club now tops £700million.

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