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Glazer stance ends Red Knights dream

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David Bond | 12:59 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

The Manchester United PR offensive has continued with the release of a clear and unequivocal statement that the club is not for sale.

"The board notes recent press speculation regarding a possible takeover bid for Manchester United," it read. "The owners remainfully committed to their long-term ownership of the club. Manchester United is not for sale and the owners will not entertain any offers"

This is no surprise. A spokesman for the Glazer family has been saying as much for weeks. But planting a formal "not for sale" sign in the middle of their latest set of financial figures is about as firm an indicator as they could give.

For the Red Knights, that wealthy group of United fans trying to raise the money to launch a bid to end the Glazers' reign at Old Trafford, it is almost certainly the end of the road.

The quarterly results for the period January to end of March 2010 also show cash reserves of £95m - dispelling fears among supporters and backing up the Glazers' claims that the money would not be channelled out of the club at this stage to pay off the £220m of Payment in Kind loans used by the American family to purchase the club in 2005.

In fact, the overall debt in the club has gone down from £543.3m to £520m for the corresponding period last year.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    What sense is there having £95m in the bank when you have pik debts of Over £400m with an interest rate of 14% and fergies said he doesn't want to buy anyone else. So what's the point in having all that money in the bank when it's just lossing you money unless the glazers would like to take more directors loans out?

    It's just a glazer pr offensive which more likely than not means the opposite of what they're trying to spin is more likely the truth. And how much money have they wastfully taken out of the club so far £100million? £200 million

  • Comment number 2.

    The Red Knights were nothing more than a publicity stunt that a few "15 minutes of fame" protesters jumped all over. Not a single person actually came up with any money for the Red Knight "bid" yet they've had three months of stories about themselves.

    The most respected manager in the history of British football is totally supportive of the Glazers and the way they run Manchester United. Deal with it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Mixed reactions on this one, I for one don't want them there but needs must when the devil drives (no pun intended) so if the debt is clearing there maybe some light - although I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 4.

    you mean pik debts of 220 million and in a couple of months it shall be 16.5%.
    the fact is manchester united in a business sense are in a strong position. they continue to generate large sums of money and they cant be going that bad when formula 1 moneymakers are asking the club for advice. there was an interesting blog by david bond a couple of days before this which showed that actually manchester united are in an incredibly strong position.

  • Comment number 5.

    Swindle, it's a swindle.!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    David this is a very narrow analysis of United's financials. United is a well run, profitable club with some *very nasty* financials underneath.

    The debt swap from bank to bond cost the club £40.7 million. The interest on debt this year will be £45 million. That's the money gained on Ronaldo wasted on non-football matters. Or to put it another way all of United's EBITDA profits.

    United also lost £19 million on forex hedging.

    The PiK debts will be paid from club cash there's no other source and this will happen after the close of the financial year on June 30 so the Glazers don't need to report it until later.

    BBC needs to offer a more balanced view, especially given your meeting with Edward Woodward last week.

  • Comment number 7.

    I suspect they have to keep a certain amount of cash as a buffer to comply with banking covenants. It'll be dictated by the terms of the loan.

  • Comment number 8.

    I suspect the cash will have to be retained by the company to comply with banking covenants on the loan, it'll be dictated by the banks.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think this is more spin coming from camp Glazer .I dont ever remember anyone saying that they were interested in selling. It may spell the end for the so called "Red Knights" but it does not and will not change the deep loathing of them and their debt.

  • Comment number 11.

    You gotta love United fans. A group of Americans come in and land the Club with a sizeable chunk of leverage (as is present in most businesses of that size) and it's the end of the World. The fans solution? Bring in a load of businessmen about whom the supporters know even less and saddle the Club with EVEN MORE debt than it already has.

    Ingenius.

  • Comment number 12.

    "What sense is there having £95m in the bank when you have pik debts of Over £400m"
    ___________________________________

    PIK debt, remember, the interest *is* getting paid, no matter when the debt is cleared. There is *no* point to paying down that debt early.

    That given, I'd use the 95m now for players, or to otherwise improve the club as a business, or even invest it. You're paying the 14% no matter what, even if you get a piddling 5% return between now and when the PIK matures, you're better off than paying in now.

    I'd buy up the bond issue first though. The best way to handle the PIK debt when it matures would be another bond, so buy up the current one, make it an easy decision for the next underwriter...

  • Comment number 13.

    There is no sense in having £95M in bank when paying 14% on £200m loan. If Glazers were really serious about being "fans" and in for the long term they should convert PIK £200m loan to shares immediately and then only take a 50% dividend of any retained profits after player transfers allowed for.

    David Gill is being less than genuine in his comments but this is because he has to be careful not to upset his employers. There is more than a "minority" of fans who want to see a fair deal.

  • Comment number 14.

    There is a good analysis of these quarterly results at http://andersred.blogspot.com/2010/05/q3-results-first-thoughts.html

  • Comment number 15.

    No matter whether they have £95m in the bank or not, £500m + is a ridiculous debt level for a club to be operating at. Ok, United are in a position to service that debt for the time being but, as noted by many others here, without the sale of Ronaldo United would have made a loss overall and, therefore, the debt would have gone up, no? If this is the case then it is clear that United now have to operate as a club looking to sell stars for very high sums of money whilst finding the stars of tomorrow on the cheap. Surely this is not the best way for one of the biggest clubs in the world to be run?

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 16.

    I've never really understood all the anti-Glazer sentiment. I suspect a lot of it is based on anti-American sentiment.

    "That given, I'd use the 95m now for players, or to otherwise improve the club as a business, or even invest it."

    That's for Fergie to decide, not the Glazers. It's a mystery why everybody assumes he's lying when he says that has money to spend, he just does not like what's out there for the going price.

  • Comment number 17.

    16. At 5:55pm on 28 May 2010, Twirlip wrote:
    I've never really understood all the anti-Glazer sentiment. I suspect a lot of it is based on anti-American sentiment.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    You've never understood the anti-Glazer sentiment?

    Before the takeover United were arguably the best financially managed football club in the world along with Barca.

    United topped the revenue and profit tables EVERY year, now it has slipped to third in the profit tables behind Real and Barca. It has also slipped to second in the profit table behind Real. However, United was and still remains the most valuable sport club on the planet.

    The Glazers took an impeccably managed football club and loaded United with circa £700 million in debt, just like that. United have a net spend of only £32,100,000 since the Glazer takeover, or just £5,350,000 per season. Cab you not clearly see what is happening?

    Profits are being eaten up the interest on the debt which explains the incredibly low net spend. In addition, I'm sure sure many other commercial ambitions for the club have had to be curbed or scrapped because of the debt. United season-ticket prices have increased 43% since the takeover, can you not see why we are so angry?

  • Comment number 18.

    "I've never really understood all the anti-Glazer sentiment. I suspect a lot of it is based on anti-American sentiment."
    ---
    The anti-Glazer has nothing to do with them being American (well maybe not nothing, I'm sure there'll be some people hate them just for that), or even for owning the club, its all to do with how they've bought the club then saddled it with the debts they raked up to buy it in the first place.

  • Comment number 19.

    The Glazers took an impeccably managed football club and loaded United with circa £700 million in debt, just like that. United have a net spend of only £32,100,000 since the Glazer takeover, or just £5,350,000 per season. Cab you not clearly see what is happening?

    ------------------------------

    You'll have to spell it out for me. Is it your contention that the Glazers are preventing SAF from spending money on players? Yes or no. You seem to be hinting at that without ever quite saying it.

    And if you ARE saying that, is it your contention that Gill and SAF are lying when they say otherwise?

  • Comment number 20.

    You'll have to spell it out for me. Is it your contention that the Glazers are preventing SAF from spending money on players? Yes or no. You seem to be hinting at that without ever quite saying it.

    And if you ARE saying that, is it your contention that Gill and SAF are lying when they say otherwise?

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    It is clear that Fergie has been unable to strengthen the squad because the cash is not there to purchase players, despite the fact we have had such a low net spend over the last 6 years. Why have ST prices increased by 43% since the Glazer takeover? To milk the fans dry to service the debt.

    Fergie and Gill have no choice but to lie. If they made a media announcement that their hands are tied because of the debt then they would both be sacked without question. Fergie has taken presumably what he thinks is best for the club and continued to work despite these constraints, believing we can still win trophies regardless of the debt problem.

    If Fergie and the squad launched a demonstration or strike then we could actually get somewhere. The players and Fergie could simply sit on the pitch on the first home game of the season and refuse to play, the Glazers cannot sack them all can they? You would have a riot on your hands if any of them were dismissed and especially so if Fergie was sacked. I couldn't care less what would happen to Gill though.


  • Comment number 21.

    only £32,100,000 since the Glazer takeover


    ------------------------------------------


    Is that a lot, or a little? You don't put it in any context. Man U spent about 45 million pounds just last year on Berbatov and Valencia. In hindsight that was not money well spent, but if it had turned out better and Man U had won the CL this season would we still be hearing these complaints? I'm pretty sure that we would not.

  • Comment number 22.

    Is that a lot, or a little? You don't put it in any context. Man U spent about 45 million pounds just last year on Berbatov and Valencia. In hindsight that was not money well spent, but if it had turned out better and Man U had won the CL this season would we still be hearing these complaints? I'm pretty sure that we would not.

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Valencia was £16 million but considering we sold Ronaldo for £80 million in the same summer you can see that puts our spending in perspective. There is still around £50 million of that Ronaldo money that is currently unspent. Then Fergie announces that United will only look to sign one player this summer, where has the Ronaldo money gone? I think it is clear it has been used to service the interest on the debt.

    To put United's net spend in perspective, here are other clubs figures since 2004.

    Manchester City £227,850,000
    Chelsea £144,650,000
    Liverpool £108,750,00
    Tottenham £96,750,000
    Aston Villa £89,945,000
    Sunderland £74,680,000
    Manchester United £32,100,000
    Stoke City £30,755,000

    We make considerably more revenue and profit than all the clubs above us (Chelsea and City do not make profit) yet for some reason are net spend is still considerably lower (I know the Ronaldo figure affects this)

    How can we only have a net spend of £2 million more than Stoke City over 6 years?

    You are semi-right that had we won the CL last season or this season you may not have heared as many complaints. However, we didn't win the PL or CL this season because quite clearly we did not have a strong enough squad, numerous areas need strengthening yet Fergie says we only need one player this summer, how can that be? We keep giving new contracts to veteran players like Van der Saar, Giggs and Scholes (legends though they are) because we clearly cannot afford replacements for them.

    However, there were widespread complaints just before the takeover as we the fans knew how much debt the club would be laden with. It is not simply because we did not win the PL or CL. The fans voiced concern about the debt even when we were winning 3 consecutive PL titles and a CL trophy.

  • Comment number 23.

    What a waste of space this blog is,i said months ago all this bluster
    by the red knights,is just that,bluster.
    If the yanks dont want to sell,the yanks wont sell,end of story.

  • Comment number 24.

    Pompey fan here, I hope there were not too many Manu fans slagging us of late because of late because the spineless EPL rules on ownership mean you are also being dragged into the ground.... I mean Fergies not buying players and he is happy, who is kidding??

  • Comment number 25.

    As with Liverpool's US owners, it is the present incumbents who get all the criticism and few look back and ask why the previous owners 'sold-out' to these Americans. Of course it was money as well and they were only to ready to take the millions being offered and sign the clubs over. The shouting, campainging, protests, kicking and scarf waving should have been seen then when the deals were first mooted!
    Looks like Ferguson has got a reasonable amount of money to spend but Benitez has been given a couple of millions only - sounds like they want him out at Anfield.

  • Comment number 26.

    Everybody is going on about percentages, "pik" rates, EBITDA, bonds! This or that level of sustainable debt!? It's just like the banking crisis. It should'nt be happening! Fuelled by short-sighted greed, and not the least concerned or interested about the club (society). or wider communities wellbeing. At the root that is why it happened. The club is owned by American suits who ONLY concern is the bottom line and making money. The whole thing is out of kilter with the reality of life surrounding it. Alienating it from it's grass roots. It's a bad business model at the very least that does that. The point is that clubs should not be in ANY sort of debt at all. End of story. The Glazers ? The Sheikhs that own Man City? Randy Lerner? Gillett and Hicks ?!?! Portsmouths last dozen owners. It makes me sick to my stomach to see OUR national game turned into a free for all of money grabbing short-sighted hedge fund managers, merchant bankers, accountants, financial consultants, suits that have landed from Mars and know and care as much about football as Zsa Zsa Gabor. What is WRONG with all the people who could make a difference. The respected football people. Have they lost their passion and decency ? Why is this being tolerated ? It's OUR game, and you better believe it. For once we stand up and say enough is enough... is over for them. End of story. So never mind about who owe's what to who, or can we get away with another ticket price hike, or getting what were solvent clubs in multi million pound debts in order to take them over and milk them for as much as they can get away with ( no matter how business like and proper it seems to be being done or run... that's what they are there for ). So...... for the Red Knights, or substitute whoever you like for them. It's not the end of the road. It's just the beginning. The beginning of claiming OUR game back and putting it where it firmly belongs..... and that is in the capable hands of the people who made it what it is today and who love passionately. Good ridance to The Glazers. Personally I can't wait to see the back of them and their kind.

    PS... Ian Holloway for Prime Minister!

  • Comment number 27.

    They will sell when they have the profit they want. They paid 800million but only came up with 300million in cash, borrowed the rest. They keep the club 10 years sell it for 1.6 billion they doubled the money correct no, they make a lot more! Sell for 1.6billion, pay off 500million in loans they clear 1.1billion. They make a profit of 800million from an investment of 300million almost 300%! Add into it the salary they are taking as directors of 100thousand a year each or more for 3 or 4 of them United are a cash cow for this bunch & they want to spend the minimum they can on new players.
    Watch the film from 1986 Wall Street with Michael Douglas as Gecko.
    Quotes from the film, "Greed is good". "They are in it for the $ & they don't take prisoners"! That is the Glazer family!
    The owners of City & Chelsea are in it for their ego. They want to be the best & they have the money to spend to become that!

  • Comment number 28.

    The 'Red Knights' are just like many of Liverpool's supposed suitors - media hungry without real substance. Yes, you've seen me, I was the man who nearly bought Manchester United. The ten minutes of fame provided by a gullible media will keep these people in business for years to come.
    http://sportales.com/soccer/fifa-2010-world-cup-countdown-blokes-be-prepared/

  • Comment number 29.

    David - your headline for the blogg amazes me, the Glazer family representatives, the Clubs CEO and various others connected with the club have all been saying, consistently for months now; "Manchester United is not for Sale!" It seems the message has at last got through- Eureka!
    Also its still a source of amazement to me to read posts from people who actually believe that SAF is scared of being sacked - the mind boggles! The truth is that the Glazer's only 'cloud on the horizon' is not debt, its the possibility that SAF might leave suddenly, before they can find a resonable replacement - because, as ironic as it may sound, the only way the Glazer's might ever consider selling the club is if (and when) SAF decides to leave. He will be such a hard act to follow and they know that. I had thought Jose Mourinho might be the Glazer's 'chosen one', but it appears Madrid is his next destination! However SAF has been reported as saying " I won't be doing the job when I am 70"! (he's now 68) so a couple of years, when Real Madrid have won the CL, who knows!!

  • Comment number 30.

    I may question the Glazers' motives, but I wouldn't question their financial acumen, they've done pretty well for themselves, while ensuring that the club continues to be well run. Their biggest headache in the foreseeable future is not how to re-finance the debt, but how to replace Alex Ferguson.

    The purported lack of big name signings is a red herring.

    http://footballinsights.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/financial-stability-v-expensive-signings/

  • Comment number 31.

    I do hope, even as a Gunner, that some sort of solution will be in place to sort their financial problems. I would hate to see Man U go down the road Leeds and some others went down. They are a good club and are an asset for the league, the best league in the world. I hope, if there ever is going to be an Arsenal take over, that we will not suffer from same situation as supporters of Man U and Liverpool are suffering. Good luck to them.

  • Comment number 32.

    Having large volumes of debt is not always a bad thing. In the corporate world, debt can be seen as good as the larger the quantity of debt the cheaper it is. Additionally debt financing is also the cheapest form of external financing due to it's low costs over equity financing.

    Though the large volumes of debt taken on by Manchester United seem to have little effect on the club, gives a good indication that the cash flow of the club is in good order. However, we won't know how much of the £80m received from the sale of Ronaldo went to SAF, and how much was used to pay off maturing debts.

  • Comment number 33.

    What happened to the Red Knights? Got an email from MUST this morning, but by the looks of it nothing is happening?

    http://www.manutdboycott.com

 

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