United in no rush over floatation

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Manchester United may put their Singapore flotation plans on hold until volatility in Stock Market conditions starts to ease.

United, who have privately dismissed renewed speculation about a potential £1.5billion sale to the Qatari Royal Family, have been given permission to launch a flotation.

It had been thought the Glazer family would actively pursue a move that would allow the whole process to be completed by the end of next month, which is still possible. However, with the club keen to ensure a successful flotation, insiders say they are currently "in no rush" to execute their plans.

One of the reasons for this could be to allow the Stock Market to settle, thereby maximising returns which the Glazer family are hoping will be around £600million if, as anticipated, they opt to put 25% of the club on the market.

Details are yet to be released. However, it is expected the listing will involve a complicated mixture of primary shares, new shares which would dilute the Glazer family's interests, with the money going to the company, and secondary shares, which would involve the sale of existing shares, with the proceeds going directly to the Americans.

Also uncertain at this stage is how the Glazers intend to control the company, with some shares expected to be preference shares, which have no voting rights but would be worth more.

Opponents of the Glazer family have already called on them to use the money raised to clear United's debt, reduced to £308million in the most recent accounts, released earlier this month.

However. it is not known how the American owners managed to pay off £220million of payment-in-kind notes in November last year.

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