Reports re-emerged linking a Saudi takeover of Manchester United yesterday. It’s an ongoing rumour which pops up every now and then and possibly has very little substance.
The reports stemmed from the Shields Gazette which had been covering Mohammed Bin Salman’s alleged interest in Newcastle. Now it is claimed he is looking at switching his focus back to a Manchester United takeover instead.
At this point neither seem very likely and the timing is suspicious.
The reports, covered in the national press too, came just hours after Manchester United’s poor quarterly financial figures were released in a call with investors.
As the MEN reported, revenues have slumped by 20 per cent and total income could drop by £70 million this season. The club’s total debt now stands at £391 million.
As reported by Kieran Maguire’s Price of Football, United’s share price slumped in the aftermath of the results. That’s not what current investors will want to see.
Following the reports of a potential Saudi takeover, United’s share price had risen again by Wednesday morning.
It was not at the price of 19.00 US Dollars which it was before the financial results, but it had risen from 17.94 to 18.28. The alarming slump had subsided a little and started trending upwards.
Did the takeover talk factor at all into this? Or was it mere coincidence?
Alarming set of figures
United’s financial situation is not what could be described as buoyant. The club need to secure Champions League football this coming season to get the top television money to avoid a similar slump in a year’s time.
As it stands the Glazers have shown no willingness publicly to discuss a sale and considering the millions they reap in from dividends every few months, they are probably quite happy siphoning money out of the club. The Mail reported the five Glazer children shared £18 million this January.
Many share the opinion that the Saudis would not be the right owner to succeed the Glazers, although they may be one of the very few parties with the ability to buy them out.
Even so these latest rumours appear just that, pure speculation. It could even have been cooked up and leaked to prop up United’s slumping share price. The timing is very convenient, and until there’s an actual offer, we are sceptical there is any substantial interest.
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