Red Knights Pair Criticize Man Utd Owners for Super League Plot
(Bloomberg) -- Hedge fund titan Paul Marshall and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economist Jim O’Neill have some advice for the Glazer family after their ill-fated attempt to start a breakaway soccer league. Give up control of Manchester United -- at a discount.
The duo, long-time fans who were part of the Red Knights consortium that tried to buy the team in 2010, called on the American family to sell down their majority stake to a maximum of 49.9% in a letter Friday to the club’s co-chairman Joel Glazer.
“This offering should be undertaken at a discount to the current trading price,” they wrote in the letter. “Indeed, as a gesture of your desire to do things right, perhaps offering this equity at the initial IPO price of $14 per share.”
Manchester United Plc shares, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $16.31 on Thursday.
The letter comes after a week of turmoil in soccer after some of the game’s richest clubs launched plans to form a breakaway European league, which quickly collapsed amid uproar from fans, politicians and even Prince William.
O’Neill and Marshall recommended Manchester United start a new supervisory board on which supporters have a controlling vote. The pair also made a withering critique of the Glazer family’s stewardship and Joel Glazer’s open letter apologizing to supporters Thursday.
“This episode is the culmination of your 16 years ownership of the club and is perhaps the strongest example of how you seem to have been persistently out of touch with the culture, spirit, indeed, very purpose of Manchester United,” Marshall and O’Neill wrote. “In your letter, you talk about rebuilding trust with the supporters, which presumes there was trust in existence before the events of last week.”
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