REVEALED: Talks between the Glazers and Apollo are focused on how much money the family will get for their Manchester United shares and NOT over any further investment in the club… dashing fans’ hopes of a cash influx
- Apollo, a New York-based firm, are looking to buy a minority stake in the club
- Talks with Apollo are focused on how much the Glazer family’s shares are worth
- There are no immediate plans for fresh money to be pumped into the club
Talks between the Glazers and the US firm looking to buy a slice of Manchester United are focused on how much money the family will get for their shares, with no immediate plans for fresh money to be pumped into the club.
The news will come as a blow to long-suffering fans hoping new investors might inject much-needed funds to revamp Old Trafford and the Carrington training ground, or provide a bigger transfer kitty.
Sportsmail exclusively revealed on Thursday that New York-based private equity group Apollo were in discussions with the Glazer family about taking a minority stake in United.
The Glazers, pictured Joel and Avram, are open to selling a minority stake in Man United
Elon Musk sent shockwaves through social media after tweeting ‘he’s buying Man United’
It followed frenzied speculation that Tesla founder Elon Musk and British billionaire industrialist Sir Jim Ratcliffe were both interested in buying the Red Devils.
Musk later tweeted that he had been joking, but Ratcliffe’s spokesperson said he would be interested if the club was for sale.
However, negotiations with Apollo are centred on how much four Glazer family members —Kevin, Bryan, Darcie and Edward Glazer — are willing to accept for their shares.
They want out, unlike their brothers, Joel and Avram Glazer, who have no intention of giving up overall ownership or day-to-day control of United.
The six siblings each own an equal number of shares in United and, crucially, they control 97 per cent of the voting equity between them. Some shares are also traded on the New York Stock Exchange but they have heavily diluted voting rights.
United’s share price rose sharply on news that a minority stake was up for grabs. Last night the shares closed in New York at $14, valuing the club at more than $2billion.
It had been hoped that there would be a cash injection to help fund improvements on Old Trafford and Carrington
The talks with Apollo, which sources variously describe as ‘exclusive’ and ‘exploratory’, are expected to last at least until the transfer window closes on September 1.
Apollo may invite other investors to join them in a consortium to buy some of the Glazers’ shares. But any deal is unlikely to involve additional equity from new shareholders that could be used for investment in the club.
‘The Glazer family members who have had enough just want to take cash off the table,’ a source said. If a deal can be agreed, it would be the first time the Glazers have loosened their grip on United since they took control in 2005 in a controversial, debt-laden £790million deal.
The club is enduring one of its toughest ever spells on and off the pitch with one of its stars, Cristiano Ronaldo, said to want to leave the club
With the shares split equally between the six family members — and four of them minded to sell — Joel and Avi Glazer could stay in control at United in a number of scenarios.
The four could sell some of their shares — in this case to Apollo — but retain enough so that the six Glazers retain overall control. Or the four Glazers could sell all of their shares, but offload enough to Joel and Avi for them to remain in charge.
In the latter scenario, Joel and Avi might have to borrow money — possibly from Apollo — to buy shares from their siblings.
The Glazers could, of course, just be testing the market to see how much their shares are worth. In other words, ‘no deal’ is also an option.
Minority investors, as Apollo would be in this case, have limited powers but they can exert some influence over owners.
Crystal Palace co-owner Josh Harris (centre) has an involvement in Apollo, who are in exclusive talks to buy a minority stake in Manchester United
‘They can push for certain powers, such as the ability to sign off on major expenditure and boardroom seats,’ Adam Sommerfeld at sports advisory firm Certus Capital Partners told Bloomberg News.
‘Football is a very fluid game, so these investors can often develop strong dissenting voices when the team are not doing too well on the pitch.’
And that is certainly the case at United, who are bottom of the Premier League table having lost their first two games of the season to Brighton and Brentford under new manager Erik ten Hag.
There are plans for anti Glazer protests at Monday night’s fixture against Liverpool at home
There are plans for anti-Glazer boycotts and protests at Monday night’s home game against arch rivals Liverpool.
United are also struggling to attract new players in this window now the team are no longer in the Champions League.
Apollo and United declined to comment.
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