United board unlikely to recommend Glazer's revised bid

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The Independent Online

Manchester United's board is unlikely to recommend a revised bid for the club by Malcolm Glazer to shareholders. A formal decision is expected after the weekend but it seems the board will opt for a "third way" stance of neither backing nor rejecting a 300p per share offer, leaving shareholders to make up their own minds instead.

Manchester United's board is unlikely to recommend a revised bid for the club by Malcolm Glazer to shareholders. A formal decision is expected after the weekend but it seems the board will opt for a "third way" stance of neither backing nor rejecting a 300p per share offer, leaving shareholders to make up their own minds instead.

The board has previously said it considers Glazer's offer fair but it is unlikely to recommend it to shareholders because it will leave the club too heavily indebted. Nothing substantial about the funding has changed in Glazer's approach.

United's fate in the face of Glazer's approach has rested on whether the club's major stakeholders, John Magnier and JP McManus, will sell their 29 per cent holding, owned via their Cubic Expression company, to the American. That remains the case. But if the board effectively absolves itself of a guiding decision, the responsibility for United's future ownership will weigh heavier on the Irish racing tycoons than ever.

Glazer must now try how to persuade the Irish to sell, although he has yet to make any direct approach to them. Cubic have never commented publicly on their intentions, saying only that they are happy to be "long-term investors". However, sources in Ireland familiar with their thinking, say they are unlikely to find 300p per share attractive, having rejected a private offer at that price last year.

A further complication for Glazer could be the attitude of JP Morgan and other bankers - who would lend some £500m of an £800m offer - to a bid not supported by the board.

Glazer's backers have made it clear they are unlikely to support a hostile bid. If the board veer from neutrality to outright rejection, Glazer's ambitions will be stymied further, or more likely, ended.

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