about 1 month ago • 2 mins
What’s going on here?
A major bid to buy Manchester United fell apart, leaving the world-famous English soccer team waiting on the bench.
What does this mean?
Manchester United’s been in the headlines for a few reasons. David Beckham revisited his glory days with the soccer club in his Netflix documentary, and the team’s currently off to one of its worst starts to a season since the Premier League – the highest level of soccer in the UK – started over 30 years ago. And off-the-pitch antics have been just as enthralling: after a Qatar-based banker withdrew his bid to buy the club, British business titan Jim Ratcliffe stepped in. Mind you, he’s only willing to take a 25% stake for a reported £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion). That might value the club at $6.4 billion, more than Friday’s closing valuation, but it wouldn’t inject the type of debt-clearing riches United supporters and shareholders were hoping for.
Why should I care?
For markets: The best seats in the house.
Manchester United shares fall into two classes: “A” shares that everyone can buy, and “B” shares that are split between six members of the Glazer family. But this time, there isn’t much power in numbers: when it comes to weighing in on club decisions, “A” shares count for one vote each while “B” ones count for ten. And while it is common for American firms in particular to divide shares like this, Succession-style off-field drama doesn’t seem to jibe with success on the pitch.
The bigger picture: Go (American) sports!
American sports franchises rake in the money, with savvy businesses holding the rights for everything from stadium-packing concerts to television. In fact, American sports teams dominate the ranks of the world’s most valuable, despite most of them relying on a mainly all-American viewership. Soccer, though, is played all over the world. And with US owners snapping up around half of the Premier League’s teams, American money-makers clearly believe there are dollars to be won from the soccer pitch.
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