Manchester United’s stock value has plummeted due to the coronavirus crisis.
The club has had over half a billion pounds wiped off its value as the US stock market plunges into chaos – a 25% drop in three weeks.
— PriceOfFootball (@KieranMaguire) March 12, 2020
Meanwhile, the club has issued a press release saying that it is buying back $35 million (around £27 million) shares from the open market.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) March 12, 2020
This means that the Glazer family will once again own a bigger percentage of the club, with the money used to buy those shares coming out of the club’s own coffers.
It is a tactic used to try to bolster stock that may be undervalued in the market, but can also be used to ward off a takeover bid.
If a higher percentage of a business’s shares are held by people who do not want to sell, it becomes much harder for a takeover to be successful.
There have been repeated reports that Saudi Arabian prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to buy the club and that the Glazers do not want to sell.
The financial picture was looking gloomy even before the coronavirus impact, with net debt having soared by £73 million in the latest quarterly accounts published in February.
Now it would appear the stock is almost in free fall, which could prompt the Saudis to make their move and attempt a hostile takeover.
With the rest of the season in jeopardy due to the virus and with the stock price in crisis, the future of the club looks increasingly uncertain and we are in completely uncharted waters from a financial point of view.
How this will affect the Red Devils’ ability to operate in the transfer market remains to be seen.
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