14 Aug 2012

Subdued debut by ManU on NYSE

9:45 am on 14 August 2012

Manchester United made a subdued debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, after opening at a discounted price of $US14.05 per share.

Analysts say enthusiasm for the celebrated football team has been overshadowed by its debt load and financial track record.

The shares were flat at $US14 in midday trading. They had been expected to sell for $US16-20.

The club initially wanted to raise up to $US333 million with the float.

Vice-chairman Ed Woodward said the club reduced the share price because more investors were comfortable with that figure.

He denied that there was a shortage of cash for player transfers.

The New York Stock Exchange marked the occasion by laying astroturf on the trading floor.

The flotation values the club at more than $US2 billion, making it one of the biggest sports clubs in the world.

Around half of the $US233 million raised will go to paying off the club's debts, with the rest going to the club's owners, the Glazer family.

The club says its debt currently stands at £423 million.

Manchester United cancelled plans to list the shares in Singapore earlier this year, citing difficult economic conditions.

One of the most renowned sports teams in the world, Manchester United claims 659 million followers and nearly 27 million Facebook fans.