MANU - Manchester United plc

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
+0.06 (+0.32%)
At close: 4:02PM EST
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Previous Close18.99
Bid0.00 x 800
Ask0.00 x 1000
Day's Range18.86 - 19.11
52 Week Range15.30 - 21.92
Avg. Volume78,516
Market Cap3.135B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.72
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
EPS (TTM)-0.32
Earnings DateFeb 11, 2020 - Feb 16, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield0.18 (0.91%)
Ex-Dividend DateNov 28, 2019
1y Target Est1,623.55
  • Bloomberg

    Saudi-Led Investor Group Said in Talks to Buy Newcastle United

    (Bloomberg) -- A Saudi Arabia-led investor group is in talks to buy Newcastle United, the Premier League soccer team owned by British billionaire Mike Ashley, for about 340 million pounds ($445 million).Ashley has been struggling to offload the team in recent years and it was unclear whether he would accept the offer, the person said. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s key investment vehicle, along with a group of investors led by British financier Amanda Staveley were making the offer, Dow Jones reported earlier.A spokesman for Staveley declined to comment on a possible offer. Calls to Ashley’s spokespeople weren’t immediately returned. Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund also didn’t immediately respond.Ashley, the primary owner of retailer Sports Direct International Plc, is a serial buyer of ailing U.K. high street names from House of Fraser to Evans Cycles. He bought Newcastle in 2007 for 134 million pounds and put it up for sale as early as 2008. Fans quickly soured on Ashley following the departure of manager Kevin Keegan and while they have remained loyal to the club through periods of relegation, they have regularly criticized Ashley for spending too little on players.Newcastle, now coached by Steve Bruce, is currently 14th in the elite 20-team Premier League, sitting 7 points above the relegation zone. Newcastle in the far northeastern part of England is one of the country’s biggest cities.Ashley was reported to have tried to sell the club at the end of 2018 by Sky, and Staveley’s financial firm PCP Capital Partners was said by the BBC to have made an offer of 300 million pounds for Newcastle after about a month of talks in November 2017. Ashley was seeking about 400 million pounds at the time, according to confidential details sent to potential buyers.The billionaire had previously tried to sell the club in the autumn of 2008 and the Financial Times reported at the time that the field narrowed to two U.S.-based bidders from seven. There were further reports of talks with at least four groups in the summer of 2009, including interest from a group of Malaysian businessmen, according to the New Straits Times.Selling the club to the Crown Prince may be a tricky deal to complete as Saudi Arabia remains under pressure to crack down on the theft of valuable sports rights, including those of the Premier League, and amid the uproar following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul in October 2018. Prince Mohammed has repeatedly denied sanctioning the killing.The Saudi government has denied any links to BeoutQ, a satellite-TV broadcaster and streaming service that global sports bodies have said was tapping illegally into coverage of their top events and selling it on to viewers across the Middle East.Saudi Arabia almost a year ago dismissed a U.K. newspaper report that the Crown Prince was stalking Manchester United and wanted to tempt the Glazer family to cede control of the club. The diplomatic row that followed the murder of Khashoggi “put the skids” on the $4.9 billion offer, the Sun reported.The Sun said Bin Salman’s interest in United was driven by a desire to challenge crosstown rival Manchester City, which is owned by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi’s royal family.Other buyers of large U.K. soccer clubs have included Chinese companies, which own West Bromwich Albion and Southampton. In 2018, Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and Fortress Investment Group co-founder Wes Edens agreed to buy a majority stake in Aston Villa.Newcastle United plays in black and white stripes at St James’ Park, which seats more than 52,000 spectators. It has won the FA Cup six times and was second in the Premier League in 1996 and 1997, according to the club’s website.(Updates with background on the club and past offers from fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Matthew Martin and Deirdre Hipwell.To contact the reporters on this story: Rebecca Smith in London at;David Hellier in London at dhellier@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Kesur at, James Amott, Jacqueline MackenzieFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


    You Can Buy Into These Sports Teams. But the Valuations Are Lofty.

    The stocks of Liberty Braves, Manchester United, and others are often driven more by private transaction valuations than they are by fundamentals.

  • Manchester United Is the General Electric of Football

    Manchester United Is the General Electric of Football

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Manchester United Plc is the General Electric Co. of soccer.Both are storied giants used to dominating their respective fields, who enjoyed their heyday in the 1990s. In Alex Ferguson and Jack Welch respectively, they had dominant leaders who set an all-but-impossible standard to follow (even if there are questions about what they left to their unfortunate successors). And in recent years, both have a track record of poor capital allocation that has seen them underperform their rivals.Where Man Utd has spent hundreds of millions of pounds over the past eight years buying players such as French midfielder Paul Pogba and Belgian attacker Romelu Lukaku, GE went on a spending spree that included the 12.4 billion-euro ($13.8 billion) acquisition of Alstom SA’s power generation business. That deal’s entire value was ultimately written down.When Jeff Immelt took over as GE’s chief executive officer in 2001, it was the biggest company in the S&P 500. Over his 16-year tenure, he spent some $200 billion buying companies, yet shareholders enjoyed annual returns of just 0.5%. In the same period, the S&P 500 was averaging returns of 7.4% a year.Man Utd is much the same. After winning 12 English Premier League titles in 20 years, the club has won just one championship since its 2012 initial public offering. That’s even as it spent a net 740 million pounds ($965 million) through June 2019 buying new players. In the same period, its bitter rival Liverpool FC spent spent less than half that amount, yet was crowned European champion last year and is running away with the Premier League this season.Soccer fans will argue all day that their club owners under-invest in the playing squad to milk the club for cash. Man Utd is owned by the American Glazer family and chants of “Glazers Out” are regularly heard at the team’s Old Trafford stadium. Fans accuse them of leveraging up the club and keeping the IPO proceeds for themselves.The story for investors is just as grim. Since the IPO, Man Utd has returned 5.8% a year. Italy’s Juventus Football Club SpA, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund GmbH and AFC Ajax NV in the Netherlands, all publicly traded, have averaged returns of 22% in the same period.Adding to the ignominy, the consulting firm Deloitte expects revenue at Man Utd, which has long challenged Spain’s Real Madrid and Barcelona for the title of the world’s most valuable soccer team, to fall as much as 11% this year, as failure to qualify for the European Champions League hurts sales. That could allow domestic rivals Manchester City FC and Liverpool to overtake it, knocking the Red Devils off the top spot in England for the first time since Deloitte began its Money League report on soccer 23 years ago.The problem isn’t that Man Utd has skimped on player investment — the numbers show that it hasn’t, at least in recent years. But it has invested poorly. A useful point of comparison is Juventus, which occupies a similar status in Italy, having won more Italian championships, known as Scudettos, than any other team.After the Turin-based club, run by the same Agnelli family that controls Fiat Chrysler Automotive NV, sold Pogba to Man Utd for 89 million pounds, it reinvested the proceeds in a string of players who subsequently led the team to the final of the Champions League, Europe’s top club competition. In the 12 months after Pogba’s departure, Juventus’s share price climbed 141%, although admittedly this was from a very low starting point.Since the Italian team signed Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player, for 100 million euros in 2018, stock increases have added almost 800 million euros to its market capitalization. That’s a very good return on investment, regardless of how Ronaldo plays.The comforting news for Man Utd is that it differs from GE in one key respect: its problems are easier to solve. In aviation, power generation, and oil and gas equipment, GE makes products for markets that face an extremely uncertain future. The Manchester giant just needs to invest its capital more shrewdly. The best way to do that is to improve its long-term recruitment strategy, and for that it will need more effective management structures in place. Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman, is the man in the firing line for increasingly angry fans. Immelt would no doubt commiserate.\--With assistance from Elaine He.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • CCL vs. MANU: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?

    CCL vs. MANU: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?

    CCL vs. MANU: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?


    Has Manchester United Turned a Corner?

    The sports company's stock is up 30% over the last 3 months, but problems on the pitch persist Continue reading...

  • Soccer Will Never Be Anything More Than a Vanity Play

    Soccer Will Never Be Anything More Than a Vanity Play

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Owning a soccer team has long seemed a mug’s game — little more than a vanity project for the errant super-rich.Until recently, that is. A new breed of owners with backgrounds in U.S. private equity is seeping into the beautiful game, particularly England’s Premier League, where club valuations have soared. Greater financial certainty has made teams a more appealing investment. But when it comes to seeking an exit, the same risks prevail.A quarter of the Premier League’s 20 teams now have an owner in private equity. That ranges from Silver Lake’s 10% stake in City Football Group Ltd., the parent company for Manchester City Football Club, to Fortress Investment Group founder Wes Edens’s co-ownership of Aston Villa Football Club. Even more are circling. The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reported last month that Todd Boehly, whose Eldridge Industries LLC owns a number of media companies and part of the Los Angeles Dodgers, made a failed bid to acquire Chelsea Football Club.Owners are generally loath to discuss why they invest in a given soccer club. They prefer to talk about a team’s unrealized sporting potential than the ability to wring more money out of its fans. But the business logic looks pretty straightforward: apply some know-how to boost commercial revenue, particularly in Asia and the U.S., and hope that income from broadcast rights continues to soar.The problem in soccer is that more revenue doesn’t always mean more profit. Take Manchester United Plc. The English giant’s sales ticked steadily upward over the past decade, rising 75% between 2009 and 2019 to 627 million pounds ($821 million). Profit has been harder to depend on, swinging from 5.3 million pounds in 2009 to a 48 million-pound loss the following year. The team, whose roster boasts French World Cup winner Paul Pogba and England defender Harry Maguire, posted a somewhat measly 19 million pounds profit in the last fiscal year.While admittedly coinciding with a period of lackluster on-field performances, the team’s shares have underperformed the S&P 500 since their 2012 listing. It makes investing in a soccer team that’s already near the top of the league table a difficult proposition. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly seeking 3 billion pounds for the club, which has won five league titles under his ownership. Given the profit it generated last year, that would mean annual returns of little more than 2%. And prospects for making more money off team jerseys, gear or specialized fan services are more limited at those major teams that have already spruced up their offerings as their sporting fortunes grew.The greater opportunities are to be found in smaller clubs with unrealized potential. Aston Villa is a prime case in point. When Edens and the Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris bought a 55% stake in the team for about 30 million pounds in 2018, they were acquiring a distressed asset scrapping for promotion from England’s second tier. But the risk was low given the upside for one of the biggest teams in England’s second-largest city, Birmingham. Just two years earlier the club had changed hands for twice that much money. So far, the gamble has paid off after Villa secured promotion last year. Even after spending more than 100 million pounds on player transfers in an effort to fend off immediate relegation, Edens and Sawiris can expect the club to be valued at as much as five times that outlay if the team cements its Premier League status. Teams with a similar-sized stadium, fan base and history such as West Ham United FC, Leicester City FC and Everton are valued by KPMG at between 500 million euros and 600 million euros. So the worst-case scenario for Edens and Sawiris is that they perhaps lose 150 million pounds between them. Best-case, they can make a profit topping 400 million pounds. That’s a healthy risk-return profile. (When hedge fund titan David Tepper paid $2.3 billion for the NFL's Carolina Panthers in 2018, he did so safe in the knowledge the team (and therefore his income) would never be subjected to the vicissitudes of relegation to a lower league.)In essence, it’s easier to justify acquiring a smaller, underperforming soccer club than a team already in the upper echelons. Crystal Palace and West Ham, two other clubs with PE investors, fit that profile. But while a theoretical enterprise value is all well and good, realizing that value by selling a team onto a new buyer can be a harder proposition. If commercialization has been optimized, what levers does a new buyer have to generate more value beyond the hope that broadcast revenues continue to trend upwards? Just ask Mike Ashley, the retail billionaire who has been trying to sell Newcastle United FC for more than a decade. Or Jim Ratcliffe, the chemicals billionaire who passed on the opportunity to buy a number of Premier League clubs, telling the Times of London recently that he “never wants to be the dumb money.”For all of the professionalization of how soccer clubs are run, the implication is clear: Ultimately, the best way to secure the returns that private equity investors expect is to sell it to someone with cash to burn who is more interested in status than a return on investment. And that’s much the way it’s always been.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Is Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU) Trading At A 29% Discount?
    Simply Wall St.

    Is Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU) Trading At A 29% Discount?

    Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU) by projecting...

  • Hedge Funds Have Never Been More Bullish On Manchester United PLC (MANU)
    Insider Monkey

    Hedge Funds Have Never Been More Bullish On Manchester United PLC (MANU)

    We know that hedge funds generate strong, risk-adjusted returns over the long run, therefore imitating the picks that they are collectively bullish on can be a profitable strategy for retail investors. With billions of dollars in assets, smart money investors have to conduct complex analyses, spend many resources and use tools that are not always […]

  • Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

    Edited Transcript of MANU earnings conference call or presentation 18-Nov-19 1:00pm GMT

    Q1 2020 Manchester United PLC Earnings Call

  • Alibaba Expands Content Offering With Manchester United Deal

    Alibaba Expands Content Offering With Manchester United Deal

    Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) is leaving no stone unturned to fortify presence in the digital media industry and expand content offerings on Youku.

  • Bloomberg

    Soccer’s Latest Big Idea Is Even Worse Than VAR

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Soccer’s global body FIFA is looking for money and commercial acumen. The private equity industry thinks it might be a solution. Like Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard when they used to play together for England, it’s not obvious the pair are made for each other.FIFA’s strategic goal is to take the beautiful game to new audiences in new regions. That process is already well underway without the organization’s help. Chinese clubs are bidding absurd prices for Western stars, and soccer has an established foothold in the U.S. Meanwhile, India is emerging as the hot new target market; witness City Football Group, owner of Manchester City, buying a majority stake in Mumbai City FC last month.But FIFA sees a role for itself in getting the top clubs to expand their global horizons. It wants to expand its Club World Cup. This is currently made up of six regional champions from around the world plus the top club in the host nation, which this year is Qatar. As things stand, the event risks being a poor substitute for Europe’s Champions League, which is home to most of the game’s stars and some genuine club rivalry.The Club World Cup participants may be leaders in their individual federations, but it’s hard to see how the matches can generate the same atmosphere and tension as a game between teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid or Liverpool and Manchester United.Hence FIFA is expanding the contest to 24 clubs from the 2021 event in China. The body also seems keen to milk it for maximum commercial potential: It is talking to CVC Capital Partners about a partnership, the Financial Times reported last week. CVC has invested in sports before, having owned Formula One motor racing, and more recently taking a stake in the U.K.’s Premiership Rugby. The firm has also been approached for support on a parallel international club competition spearheaded by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the FT said.What would private equity bring? An expanded tournament should surely be self-funding through the broadcasting rights and sponsorship deals. The need for additional capital isn’t obvious. The real benefit would be the ability to hand over the management of the competition to a well-organized partner with proven expertise that goes beyond selling airtime to the highest bidder. A buyout firm would almost certainly be more skillful than FIFA in making the most of merchandising and hospitality opportunities, and maximizing revenue from video content and data.The question is what’s in it for private equity. The investment committee of any interested buyout firm should weigh the opportunity with caution. FIFA’s past corruption scandals mean that any check should be written only after a tough due-diligence exercise given the reputation risk.Then there’s the question of whether an expanded Club World Cup would make more enemies than friends. A global club tournament gets in the way of national leagues — and there is already the lucrative Champions League and Europa League for Europe’s elite teams. Even the current small-scale Club World Cup competition generates scheduling conflicts.Such confections also risk perpetuating the divide between the teams that qualify (and thereby make more money, enabling them to snap up the best talent) and those that don’t. The bottom line is that outside investors need to be 100% sure they can improve the game for all fans before they get involved.Private equity has more money than investment opportunities right now so that’s why it’s fishing in new waters. But this has the potential to be much more controversial than its past sporting ventures. The introduction of video-assisted refereeing has probably been the most unpopular development in soccer recently. Small wonder this latest big idea is getting a similar welcome.To contact the author of this story: Chris Hughes at chughes89@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 2-Soccer-Manchester United sign new partnership deal with Alibaba

    Premier League soccer club Manchester United have agreed a partnership with e-commerce giant Alibaba in an effort to extend the club's engagement with fans in China. The deal will see Alibaba provide club content on its online video platform Youku and develop a future club store on the company's business-to-consumer platform The deal is the latest move by United to engage with the Chinese market following the launch of a Chinese language app and plans for "experience centres" across the country.

  • Business Wire

    Manchester United and Alibaba Group Announce New Partnership

    Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) – one of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world - today announced a new partnership with Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA and HKEX: 9988) that will bring exclusive rights to club content in China to Alibaba’s ecosystem for the first time, further extending the club’s engagement with its massive Chinese fanbase.

  • Liverpool vs. Everton Is a Match Made for Amazon

    Liverpool vs. Everton Is a Match Made for Amazon

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The ability of the world’s biggest sports competitions to keep making more money could depend on one relatively mundane factor: broadband networks’ capacity to live-stream games to millions of households.The biggest test so far will come this week with Inc.’s broadcast of 10 Premier League matches. The broadcast revenues from England’s flagship soccer competition have started to plateau as television stations grow wary about writing outsize checks to obtain the rights. In response, the league has solicited U.S. tech giants in an effort to reinvigorate the bidding war for rights.Their entreaties have so far largely fallen on deaf ears. That is, until Amazon agreed to buy a relatively small package of Premier League games in June 2018. But Amazon’s interest fell short of creating a bidding war. The e-commerce giant is understood to have paid very little for the privilege of streaming 10 games this week and another 10 after Christmas. The intention was instead to whet Amazon’s appetite. If the broadcasts prove successful — which in Amazon’s case means signing up a host of new subscribers for its Prime service — then it might encourage the Seattle-based firm to bid for the bigger packages of games currently held by Comcast Corp.’s Sky division and BT Group Plc.The timing of the games is of course opportune for Amazon, coming shortly before Christmas. When users sign up for Prime Video, the service that will broadcast the games, they will also get access to the broader suite of Prime offerings, including Prime Delivery, which promises faster and free deliveries of products bought via Prime subscribers spend an average of $1,400 a year on the website, compared to the $600 of other customers, the research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated last year.The challenge for Amazon is that it will be largely dependent on the U.K.’s broadband infrastructure to distribute the games, and that network is not fundamentally designed to support video live-streaming. While it has subcontracted BT to supply the feed to pubs and bars, ordinary households will use their existing internet connections. That may not make for pretty viewing as the U.K. has the fourth-lowest penetration of fiber-optic broadband in the European Union.Prior experiences have surfaced a welter of problems. Amazon’s first foray into sports broadcasting in the U.K. prompted a slew of complaints, partly to do with the editorial standards, but also to do with picture quality, a far more significant concern given the scale of the Premier League soccer challenge. YouTube TV’s live-stream of last year’s World Cup semi-final between England and Croatia crashed in the U.S., and AT&T Inc. ended up providing a pay-per-view golf match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson free after experiencing glitches. And while Amazon has shown National Football League games, the rights were shared with other classic broadcasters, reducing the network demand.An examination of the Premier League’s viewership highlights the extent of the risks. A match in August 2018 between Manchester United and Leicester City attracted some 1.1 million viewers on Sky, according to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board. Just 72,000 of those watched the game via a mobile device — the most readily available proxy for live-streaming. Even the England-Croatia game drew in just 337,000 viewers using mobile devices. On Dec. 4, Amazon will concurrently broadcast six games, each of which could have several hundred thousand viewers.Top of the list will be Liverpool versus Everton — a derby game of two sides from the same city, and therefore likely to create a demand peak in a relatively concentrated area. The match kicks off 45 minutes after the others, which could be construed as a move to try to spread the demand on the network.There are ways Amazon, with its deep cloud-computing expertise, can alleviate potential problems, not least by leaning on other content delivery network specialists such as Akamai Technologies Inc., whose additional servers can make it easier to handle peaks of demand. But even if the picture quality is up-to-scratch, there is always likely to be a lag which could prompt complaints. When Twitter Inc. broadcast NFL games in 2016, a 30- to 90-second lag meant that viewers often saw the score in a tweet before watching the play itself.It is easier for Amazon to justify spending more to deliver the content than it will generate from the subscriptions themselves, because it will make more money in the long-term from customers buying more products from But if things go badly wrong, then it will play into the hands of Sky and BT, who have years of experience with live sports broadcasting, and control much of the underlying network.If there’s no big uptick in subscribers for Amazon this time around, and the games are beset by technical snafus, that’ll make it harder to attract more viewers — and thus more subscribers to Prime Video — over the next two years for which it has the rights. That could end hopes that Amazon or any other tech giant will be willing to bid serious money for the games anytime soon.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Examining Manchester United plc’s (NYSE:MANU) Weak Return On Capital Employed
    Simply Wall St.

    Examining Manchester United plc’s (NYSE:MANU) Weak Return On Capital Employed

    Today we'll look at Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically...


    StockBeat: Manchester United Shares Soar After Man City Stake Deal - Shares of Manchester United soared in midday trading Wednesday after its crosstown rival sold a stake to a private equity firm, a move that could boost the valuation of all major soccer teams.

  • Bloomberg

    Pep Guardiola Gets a $4.8 Billion Price Tag From Silicon Valley

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Silver Lake’s hunt for a European sports investment has taken the U.S. West Coast buyout firm to the north of England, with a deal for a stake in the owner of Manchester City soccer club.There’s no science in negotiating the price for such trophy assets: Two sides get together and hammer out a number. But Silver Lake has investment clients to answer to and they’ll still expect reasoned justification for agreeing to pay $500 million for 10% in City Football Group. The $4.8 billion valuation is a record for a soccer business.It appears the buyer was the driving force behind the deal. Silver Lake specializes in technology and has been held back from putting money to work in recent years by sky-high valuations in its native sector. That creates the risk of overpaying in frustration when an attractive asset turns up.Sport has some obvious selling points: Live content is valuable, technology allows clubs to connect directly with the fan-base, and those supporters tend to stay loyal. Soccer is becoming more global too, and Manchester City’s international recognition lags that of its local rivals Manchester United and Liverpool despite the appeal of its coach Pep Guardiola.Silver Lake doubtless has some skills to offer but CFG probably held the balance of power in negotiations. For starters, the group already has deep-pocketed backers in Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Abu Dhabi United Group, the controlling shareholder, and minority holder China Media Capital. It scarcely needs more outside cash. What’s more, its immediate spending requirements may be more analogue than digital. The company is in advanced talks to build a stadium for its New York team and its global ambitions suggest a desire to add another club to its portfolio.So why take a fresh outside investor? Expertise can be bought by hiring good people, without diluting the existing owners.One answer is that Silver Lake provides an eye-catching external validation of Manchester City’s value. The price equates to 6.4 times sales for CFG’s 2018 financial year, when the group made a 45 million-pound ($58 million) loss. That revenue multiple compares with 4.3 times for Manchester United Plc and 4.9 times for Italy’s Juventus. Manchester City itself (rather than CFG as a whole) recently posted 2019 results showing revenue growth of 7% and it claims to have been profitable for five years.The high valuation is an obstacle to achieving the kind of mid-teens percentage returns that private equity normally seeks. A non-controlling minority stake and a probable holding period exceeding the buyout industry’s usual five-to-seven years make this an unusual deal. Another big hurdle is a potential ban for Manchester City from the lucrative European Champions League because of alleged breaches of “financial fair play” rules. Depending on the debt it can apply to its stake, Silver Lake could have to exit its holding at a valuation three times higher for this to stack up over a decade.The potential to expand City’s international fanbase is one source of optimism. Technology may help monetize that. The distribution of sports content is evolving fast — witness Inc.’s imminent streaming of English Premier League games. Silver Lake is in the dugout to influence how this plays out. But it’s a big gamble for a mid-sized and otherwise U.S.-focused firm.To contact the author of this story: Chris Hughes at chughes89@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Manchester City owner scores $4.8 billion price tag with stake sale

    Manchester City owner scores $4.8 billion price tag with stake sale

    LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) - Manchester City's Abu Dhabi-controlled owner has agreed to sell a $500 million stake to U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake, making it the world's most valuable soccer group with a $4.8 billion price tag. Tech-focused Silver Lake will buy just over 10% of City Football Group (CFG), which owns reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City and teams in the United States, Australia and China, the companies said on Wednesday. The investment crowns a rags to riches story for Manchester City, which spent much of the 1990s in the doldrums but broke into the big league of world soccer with the help of Middle Eastern cash.

  • Benzinga

    What You Should Know About Viagogo, The Company That Just Bought StubHub

    Online ticket marketplace StubHub is being sold by eBay Inc (NASDAQ: EBAY) to the Swiss online ticket resale platform Viagogo for just over $4 billion in cash, eBay announced Monday. Viagogo, a big player in Europe and Britain in online ticket sales, was founded in 2006 by American Eric Baker, who was also co-founder of StubHub.

  • 'Ole has started seeing the team he wanted', says Guardiola
    Reuters Videos

    'Ole has started seeing the team he wanted', says Guardiola

    SHOWS: MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK (JANUARY 6, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPORTER ASKING MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA: "Pep, Solskjaer said this morning he admires your team and the standards you've set in your time at Manchester City, what do you admire about what Ole's doing and his Manchester United side?" GUARDIOLA: "I think he's started to see his team what he wanted, that is my feeling when I see his teams. Even the last game against Arsenal that they lost, we see clear what they want, what he wants. "It's not easy to handle a team, a big, big club, always demanding to be champion in all competitions. But I think every manager needs time, and I think, I have the feeling, that United start to play the way he wants, or he wants as his old manager Sir Alex Ferguson, is my feeling." REPORTER: "I know this is a different game because it's a semi-final, but what do you feel you learnt from that defeat against United a few weeks ago?" GUARDIOLA: "Well, how fast they are in the counter-attack. How solid, how aggressive. I think we conceded a few counter-attacks in the beginning, and in just two or three seconds, they are in the box, they have incredible pace and talent. But in general, the game was good. We created chances, and unfortunately, we couldn't win." REPORTER: "Pep, how much of a dilemma do you have in terms of your team selection, because obviously you've made changes for cup in the past, maybe Bravo playing, but it's Manchester United and a semi-final?" GUARDIOLA: "No, I have an idea still, I didn't think so, of course the cup, especially with the incredible amount of games some players have in the legs, they should be rested for the previous games, so now I have an idea of the way we want to play, but still I don't have 100% sure the guys that are going to play tomorrow." 2. WHITE FLASH 3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPORTER ASKING MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA: "You're obviously here to win trophies, given the position in the Premier League, does this cup, the opportunity to be three games from winning it, become even more important?" GUARDIOLA: "No. It was important the first season and the next two, and this one, nothing changed for the fact for this theory, like we won the Premier League in the previous season, they wouldn't have been important - doesn't matter, it was not the case, it's a game we need to play and we're going to do a good game." STORY: Manchester City's Pep Guardiola believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stamped his authority at Manchester United with a fresh tactical approach but said the Norwegian will need more time to build a squad capable of winning titles. United have struggled for consistency in Solskjaer's first full season as manager and have won just two Premier League games since beating City last month. The defeat to Arsenal on New Year's Day left United five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, but Guardiola has seen signs of United players finally translating Solskjaer's gameplans onto the pitch. "Ole has started seeing the team he wanted - that's my feeling," Guardiola told a news conference on Monday (January 6) ahead of City's League Cup semi-final first-leg against United on Tuesday (January 7). "Even the last (league) game against Arsenal, that they lost, we saw what they want. "It's not easy to handle a team at a big, big club... always demanding to win competitions and every manager needs time. I have the feeling United started to play the way he wants." Guardiola will look to ensure his team is not vulnerable to counter-attacks as they were when United duo Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial carved out an early lead at the Etihad Stadium last month. "I think we conceded few counter-attacks in the beginning and in just two-three seconds they're in the box. They have incredible pace and talent to do that," the Spanish coach said. "In general the game was good, we created chances." City confirmed defender Nicolas Otamendi, who missed the last two games against Port Vale and Everton, has returned to training and will be available for the match at Old Trafford. "I have an idea of the way I want to play but I am not 100% sure of the guys who play tomorrow," Guardiola added. "Especially with the incredible amount of games some players have in the legs, they should be rested for the previous games." (Production: Mike Brock)

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