Man Utd to IPO… in the U.S.

July 4, 2012

Manchester United, one of the worlds biggest brands and highest valued sport franchises has decided that they will pursue an Initial Public Offering to raise $100 million  in the U.S.  This isn’t probably that strange of a thought, as the team is owned by Americans, the Glazer family to be specific, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  However, I can see that many individuals will be quite unhappy in England, as there has already been a lot of backlash against Premier League teams being bought up by foreign investors.  Now with stock being sold on the U.S. stock exchange, I believe that there will be another wave of criticism.

Another question arises in, whether it would be worth the money to buy stock in Manchester United.  Certainly the franchise has a high value, but many football clubs in Europe have been running large debts, and it doesn’t seem like a sure thing that this stock will make quick money for anyone.  As a long-term investment it may make sense.  That said, I already know several people who live in the U.S. who are rather excited, as they love the prospect of being able to own a piece of their favorite club.

The Glazer’s were also hoping to sell of a good chunk of stocks on the Singapore markets as well, however the volatile nature of the Asian markets has caused the $1 billion Singapore IPO to be put on hold for another day.  CNN notes that this comes after Formula One also put a halt to their IPO in Asian markets because of too much uncertainty.


The Ugly Side of a Sport?

July 27, 2010

Last weekend in the German Grand Prix of Formula One (F1), Fernando Alonso won with Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa in second place.  That would have been entirely without comment other than to applaud the ability of those two drivers to finish at the top of the pack, had Massa not been given veiled orders to let Alonso past him two laps from the end of the race.

Ferrari have been fined $100,000 for this, but the result stands – meaning Alonso remains a strong candidate for the overall F1 Championship, which is a very competitive 5-way tussle this year.

Nonetheless, purists complain; it wasn’t the best driver that won the race, and Alonso has been given an “unfair” helping hand in his Championship pursuit.  Ferrari have responded predictably defiantly: It has always been this way – not that it’s right or wrong or ethical.  Is it the driver, or is it the team?  Purists would respond it is the driver and bemoan such malign intervention by teams.

Some have responded that more regulation needs to be introduced to stop this – the BBC article on Ferrari’s response lists nine previous incidences of team orders affecting outcomes since 1997 alone.  But of course that won’t work.  Teams will only find more veiled methods to get team orders out to drivers to ensure that the “right” result happens.  Massa was only informed that his teammate Alonso was the “faster” driver, not told to let him past explicitly.

Bigger fines could be introduced – $100,000 in a multi-billion dollar industry is peanuts and won’t stop any of the teams with a shout of the Championship to think twice about such corruption.  But would bigger fines just make the methods of transmitting teams orders even more cryptic and hard to spot?