Business

Red Knights 'to drop £1bn Man Utd bid'

A Man Utd fan
Image caption Some Manchester Utd fans would like to see a change of club ownership

A consortium of businessmen tipped as possible buyers of Manchester United will shelve plans to make an offer, a report says.

The Red Knights were expected to make a bid of about £1bn in the coming weeks.

But the Sunday Times said this had been put on ice after investors baulked at the club's valuation.

Manchester United has said it is not for sale and that the Glazer family owners would "not entertain any offers".

The Glazers are said to value the club at £1.5bn.

The paper cited sources close to the Red Knights saying that the club's debts, the lack of money spent on players in recent years and rumours of manager Sir Alex Ferguson being close to retirement meant there was "a lot more downside than upside".

Revenues increased

On Friday the club announced a cut in debt from £543.3m a year ago to £520.9m for the January to March period.

In Man Utd's quarterly financial results, the figures also showed net assets of £794.9m and a cash balance of £95.9m.

The Old Trafford club said that in the nine months to March, year-on-year revenues were up 13.5% from £193.3m to £219.3m.

It also reported that quarterly match-day, commercial and media revenues had increased on three months ago.

However, losses for the quarter were up from £5.87m to £65.94m, mostly relating to various financing charges and costs.

Debts

Manchester United was bought by the Glazer family for £800m in 2005. In the 2009/10 season the club finished second to Chelsea in the Premier League.

They were also knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter finals, and have ended the season relatively unsuccessfully by their standards, winning only the League Cup.

Critics say the family has saddled United with massive debts, and the Red Knights have said that one of their priorities is to reduce debt levels.

Earlier this year the club launched a seven-year £538m bond that enabled them to refinance much of their more costly debt.

Fans have launched a campaign to oust the Glazers, many boycotting the traditional red shirts and scarves and instead wearing green and gold, the original colours of Newton Heath, the amateur side which was founded in 1878 and became Manchester United.

However, the club does not believe it has fully maximised its revenue streams from global commercial opportunities.

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