Manchester United board set to back Glazer bid (go back to the homepage)
LONDON (AFX) - The board of Manchester United PLC will recommend US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer's controversial bid for the football club as soon as he secures 75 pct of its shares, with an announcement expected as soon as Monday, the Independent on Sunday reported.
The club's directors decided that they would 'reluctantly' approve Glazer's bid once he reached the 75 pct threshold at a meeting on Friday, the paper said, without citing sources.
Under stock market rules, Glazer is entitled to take Man Utd private, effectively gaining control over the club, as soon as he holds three quarters of its share capital. By the close of trading in London on Friday, he had accumulated 74.8 pct of the stock.
Manchester United did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Separately, the Sunday Times reported that Glazer's 790 mln stg takeover of the club is backed by New York-based hedge funds Citadel, Och-Ziff Capital Management, and Perry Capital, who have between them contributed about 275 mln stg to the bid.
The three hedge funds have bought preference shares issued as part of the takeover. Glazer will pay interest on the shares, and has the option of buying them back at a later date, the Sunday Times said.
Glazer's bid, also financed through a 265 mln stg bank loan, has prompted criticism from Man Utd fans who fear that the debt-fuelled takeover will undermine the club's financial position, leaving it unable to compete for new players.
Manchester United has the strongest finances of any listed football club, with zero debt and a track record of delivering annual profits.
Some fans' associations are calling for a boycott of the club's games and merchandise.