Man Utd turns its back on Asia IPO, heads to US instead
The world’s biggest football club will float on Wall Street
Manchester United, the most valuable sports team in the world, has cancelled plans to launch an IPO in Asia later this year, and instead will pursue similar opportunities in the United States, according to reports.
For some time The Red Devils had been exploring listing on either the Hong Kong or Singapore Stock Exchanges, with most analysts predicting a billion dollar IPO on the latter some time before the end of 2012.
However plans have changed, with the club’s American owners deciding to move the venture back to their homeland, with an expected float on either the NYSE or NASDAQ imminent. A final decision of where the float will take place is expected in the near future, but with NASDAQ currently suffering heavy criticism for its poor handling of the recent Facebook IPO suggestions are that the NYSE is currently favoured.
The original bookrunners for the listing, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, may also change as a result of the Stock Exchange shift.
Sceptics have stated that listing a football club in a country that isn’t in love with the game will be difficult for United, but this seems to be a little short-sighted. In addition to its 650 million global fans (by far the most of any sports franchise) United also boast commercial partnership deals in over 70 countries, including with All-American cultural cornerstones General Motors and The New York Yankees.
A large percentage of United’s fan base is in Asia, but the IPO location switch shouldn’t make the club any less attractive to investors.
News of the cancelled Asian IPO is the second blow to the SGX, after Formula One announced it was delaying its IPO on the Exchange earlier this month.