ARAB TIMES, THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2011
Red Devils see future growth
Man United’s planned IPO
marries sense, sentiment
SINGAPORE, Aug 17, (RTRS): Much million pounds, with a net loss of 84 mil-
more than a case of raising funds where lion pounds.
cash is plentiful, English soccer club Hong Kong, which had been touted as
Manchester United’s plan to seek $1 bil- an alternative listing venue, bars unprof-
lion on Singapore’s stock market is a itable companies from listing on its
marrying of financial sense and global exchange.
supporter sentiment — and a resounding Soccer-Mad Singapore
indication of where the club sees future Soccer enjoys a massive following
growth. among Singapore’s 5.1 million inhabi-
The English Premier League club, de- tants. The English Premier League is a
listed from London’s stock exchange in huge draw on cable TV and there are
2005 when it was bought by the scores of Liverpool and Manchester
American Glazer family, is now saddled United fan clubs across the island.
with a debt pile that has led to a vilifica- Wearing the red United shirt to one of
tion of the Glazers among fans. dozens of Singapore bars broadcasting
It has also left United in danger of United’s matches is very different to
struggling to meet “Financial Fair Play” plunging savings into the club, though.
rules put forward by soccer’s European “Of course not,” said Manchester
governing body UEFA led by Michel United fan Ernest Teng, a sales manager
Platini. in an IT firm in Singapore when asked if
And while the he would buy shares.
Glazers have made it
clear they have no
intention of selling, a SOCCER
Singapore makes “The $4 billion valuation is crazy.
perfect sense on Bottom line is the Glazers will still be in
many fronts: it will control. All I want to see is for them to
help reduce the debt sell out and not burden the club with so
burden; it targets much debt.”
Asia’s strong eco- Platini The IPO of a globally recognised
nomic and investing brand such as Manchester United would
growth and, crucially, it will deepen be a coup for Singapore, which has been
United’s links with a region ripe for competing with Hong Kong for interna-
expanding its powerful global brand. tional listings.
“With two-thirds of their fans residing “Obviously it’s a big brand name,
in Asia, two-thirds of the world living in there will be some novelty effect, but
Asia ... there’s an attractive audience whether investors will go for it will
base to tap into,” Singapore-based sports depend on the offer price, whether they
sponsorship expert Ben Heyhoe Flint have some dividend yield guaranteed,”
told Reuters. Andrew Chow, head of research at UOB
“Couple that with high growth mar- Kay Hian, said.
kets and high growth brands, and there’s “People will be interested to listen to
a valid commercial reason (for listing in what they have got to offer, but whether
Singapore) in that they are getting closer people will want to put their money in is
to potential sponsors in Asia where a different ball game.”
they’ve had success before,” added Flint, Home to one of the world’s busiest
head of Asia-Pacific for sponsorship container ports, the city-state is known
consultants Fuse. for its business-friendly environment
Biggest Sporting IPO and as a financial centre, especially for
At an estimated $1 billion, the IPO of private wealth management.
Manchester United would be the world’s Two-way relationship
largest for a sports organisation, but It is also seeking to put its imprint on Lyon’s French forward Bafetimbi Gomis (right), fights for the ball with Rubin’s Israeli midfielder Bebras Natcho (left), during the UEFA Champions League
small compared to other businesses. the global sports scene — for the past playoff match Lyon vs Rubin Kazan on Aug 16 at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, southeastern France. (AFP)
Companies typically sell a quarter to a three years it has immaculately hosted
third of their shares in an IPO, giving the only night-time F1 Grand Prix.
Manchester United a potential value of
up to $4 billion.
“Will people invest? If they open up
the IPO to individual investors, and not
institutional as is rumoured, then I think
you’ll find that yes, fans will be drawn
English soccer clubs flirting with the
region is nothing new — it was, after all,
English engineers, builders and bricklay-
ers who helped create the foundations of
so many overseas clubs and leagues that
made soccer a truly global game in the
Wenger risks UEFA wrath
over phone row in playoff
into making an emotional investment late 19th and early 20th centuries.
into their beloved club,” Flint said. Today, the trail-blazing is a little dif-
“From an institutional point of view, ferent, based on a multi-billion pound,
we’ve seen serious interest in ownership dollar, yen or won consumer market.
of EPL clubs from Singapore and The Premier League has been aware
Thailand recently so I’m sure it will also of the riches that await in Asia, instigat-
draw interest at that level.” ing the officially-sanctioned Premier
Last year Singapore billionaire Peter League Asia Trophy in 2003 and holding
Lim made a 320 million pound ($525.5 it every two years since then. Fabregas sale leaves void in Arsenal midfield
million) bid to buy Liverpool Football Apart from that tournament, record
Club, but later withdrew the offer after 19-times English champions Manchester
the club went into the hands of New United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and LONDON, Aug 17,
England Sports Ventures following a
Lim separately has exclusive rights to
others have all toured Asia, playing to
huge crowds, spreading the word, selling
replica shirts and reaping huge profits.
Wenger could be in
Indian city of Kolkata prepares for Messi mania
own and operate a chain of Manchester Clubs have also scouted for the best trouble with UEFA KOLKATA, India, Aug 17, (AP): The Local football administrator Utpal engineering student, says young
United-themed restaurants and bars in Asian players who have, in cases like after repeatedly com- anticipated announcement of Lionel Ganguly says this game is more people may not be able to afford the
Asia. Park Ji-sung at United or Chung Lee- municating with the Messi in an Argentina squad to play important than those featuring Pele tickets.
Not everyone is so confident investors yong at Bolton, forced their way into the Venezuela in an international and Kahn. “It would be a great experience
will be eager to pour their money into first teams back in England. Arsenal bench dur- friendly here next month is expect- “Messi and Carlos Tevez are in for me to see Messi and Tevez. But
England’s most successful soccer club, Premier League CEO Richard ing his side’s 1-0 win ed to unleash what locals are call- the prime of their careers whereas I am not sure whether my desire
however. Scudamore makes no secret of the over Udinese in the ing Messi mania. Pele and Kahn played here during would be fulfilled as the cost of tick-
“I guess Manchester United is trying importance Asia plays in the Premier More than 15,000 tickets have their twilight years,” Ganguly said. ets is pretty high,” Ghosh said.
to ride their popularity in Asia,” said League’s financial success story. Champions League already been sold online for the “I’m sure the crowd response will The minimum cost of tickets is
Roger Tan, head of research at SIAS “The passion for soccer and especially play-off first leg. FIFA-sanctioned Sept 2 match at pick up once the list of players is 500 rupees ($11) for registered
Research. the Premier League in Asia is as intense Wenger was forced to the 100,000-capacity Salt Lake announced.” football players of the city and
“Frankly I do hear that football clubs as it is back in England, if not more so,” watch the match from the Stadium, but organizers are predict- But some like 63-year-old football 1,200 rupees ($27) for others.
are not usually profitable so if they are he said in recent roundtable meetings. Emirates Stadium stands ing a surge of sales in coming days fan Binay Mukherjee are not sure The match comes at a time when
really listing in Singapore, I would sug- “The reason our clubs go to Asia and as the Gunners boss served when the squads are announced. whether the big names will play here. national body All India Football
Football frenzies have struck in “It would be great to watch Messi Federation is hoping to give an
gest potential investors look closely at we hold the Asian tournament is for a touchline ban for abusing Kolkata before, most notably when and Tevez, but a doubt has cropped impetus to the world’s most popular
the numbers. Investing in a club is very them to see their heroes live and for the Swiss referee Massimo Brazilian great Pele turned out for up among fans here on whether game in a country of 1.2 billion
different from supporting a club.” clubs to exploit their market potential as Busacca in the aftermath the US club Cosmos in a friendly they will be released by their where cricket reigns.
United’s 2010 full-year results showed much as they can. It is a natural two-way of last season’s stormy against local club Mohan Bagan in respective clubs,” Mukherjee said. Last year, the AIFF signed a 15-
gross debt attached to the club of 522 relationship.” Champions League defeat 1977 and when German goalkeep- Another worry is the steep prices year, $140-million deal commercial
at Barcelona. er Oliver Kahn played for Bayern of tickets. deal with IMG-Reliance, which will
Munich against Bagan in 2008. Suvadeep Ghosh, an 18-year-old market football in India at all levels.
Best of the Rest stages of Europe’s elite club was sorely missed 24 hours than on the wing. a couple more but the keep-
After Arsenal officials competition. after the completion of his “We’ve just got to carry er made some spectacular
consulted UEFA on The Gunners had to ride move to Barcelona. on,” he said. “It’s time to saves.”
tional, who has found himself surplus to Monday, Wenger believed their luck to earn even that As ever, Walcott offered move on. Cesc was a great Walcott remains confi-
Barca, United get financial boost: he was still free to commu- lead as Udinese created a host moments of inspiration and player for the club but he’s dent Arsenal can finish the
Barcelona and Manchester United earned requirements under the reign of Roberto
over 50 million euros ($72 million) each Mancini. nicate with assistant Pat of chances, only to lose com- exasperation as he scored gone. job next week and avoid the
after reaching the Champions League final “The chairman is talking to Man City Rice by passing messages to posure at the crucial moments. and then missed two good “We still have some very embarrassment of being
last season, European soccer’s governing about the player but where they (the negotia- first-team coach Boro With better finishing from chances to increase talented players in the squad consigned to a season in the
body UEFA said. tions) are at, I genuinely don’t know,” Primorac, who was seated the Italians it could have Arsenal’s lead. here and we believe we can Europa League.
Last season’s 32 Champions League Redknapp said. next to the Frenchman and been an extremely bleak Walcott will be expected achieve something this year. “We’re in a great position
teams received a total of 754.1 million euros Adebayor, 27, spent the second half of then phoned the information start to the post-Cesc to shoulder more of the “It was nice to get the but it’s far from over. We’re
from a combination of performance-related last season on loan at Real Madrid and down to the bench. Fabregas era. attacking burden now goal. I want to get more happy with the result but we
payments and the television pool. Mancini has made it clear the former The trio did exactly that The former Arsenal cap- Fabregas is gone however goals this season. Hopefully
Arsenal striker has no future at City.
didn’t finish it off,” he said.
United were the biggest earners, with throughout the first half but tain’s ability to retain pos- and he challenged Wenger the boss will play me up “That’s two clean sheets
53.20 million euros comprising more than However Adebayor’s huge wages at City
27 million for their performances and anoth- — he is paid an estimated ¬£170,000 per television pictures showed session and launch attacks to play him up front rather front now. I could have had in a row now, and we’re
er 25.9 million from the television pool, week — are believed to be the biggest obsta- the rather blatant nature of capable of winning over
UEFA said. cle deterring clubs from making a move for the plan and UEFA, keen there.”
Despite winning the final 3-1, Barcelona’s the player. not to be embarrassed, Meanwhile, Udinese
earnings were slightly less at 51 million Redknapp has made no secret of his warned Wenger at the break coach Francesco Guidolin
euros, as their performance-related payments desire to strengthen Spurs attacking line, and that he was contravening the took encouragement from
were 30.7 million but they collected only this week offloaded Republic of Ireland rules and he withdrew from the way his side troubled
20.3 million from television. international Robbie Keane to MLS side the communication. Arsenal even though the
UEFA said other top earners were Chelsea Los Angeles Galaxy. (AFP) After the match, Wenger Serie A side have lost key
(44.52 million), Schalke 04 (39.75 million), ❑ ❑ ❑ did not attend the usual players including Chile
Real Madrid (39.28 million), Inter Milan
(37.98 million), Bayern Munich (32.56 mil- Former Scotland defender dead: press conference, so he winger Alexis Sanchez.
lion) and Tottenham Hotspur (31.13 million). Former Wolves and Scotland defender Frank couldn’t be asked for his “We shouldn’t feel satis-
UEFA added that money from the cen- Munro has died following a heart attack, the version of events, but it is fied with the performance
tralised television pool was distributed English Premier League club confirmed possible he will get a slap on because what counts is
according to the value of the teams in their Wednesday. He was 63. the wrists from UEFA for
Munro represented Scotland nine times
results, but it is good to have
own national market. going a little too far with his just a small defeat,”
All clubs were entitled to a minimum 7.2 during his career but was most famous for communications.
his nine years at Wolves between 1968 and Guidolin said.
million euros from the group stage. Further That would be one more
performance bonuses and participation fees 1977, where he helped the club win the “Everyone is talking
League Cup in 1974. problem for Wenger at the about the players Arsenal
were awarded in each of the knockout start of a season already rid-
stages. (RTRS) Munro, who was also a member of the have sold but no one is tak-
Wolves team which reached the UEFA Cup dled with difficulties for the ing into consideration the
❑ ❑ ❑ final in 1972, died on Tuesday, two days north London club. players we have sold.
Spurs eyeing Adebayor move: after suffering a heart attack. Wenger’s side will go to “It hasn’t been easy for us
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp con- Former team-mates Dave Wagstaffe and Italy for the second leg next and playing against a great
firmed Wednesday the club was in talks with Phil Parkes were at his hospital bedside dur- Wednesday with only a slen-
Manchester City over a possible move for ing his final hours. team like Arsenal we could
der advantage, secured have lost by several goals.
unsettled striker Emmanuel Adebayor. “Frank was the most skilful centre-half in thanks to Theo Walcott’s
Redknapp revealed Spurs chairman the country and yet he never realised it. He “We were a bit shy at the
Daniel Levy was negotiating with City over played the game for fun,” Wagstaffe was quot-
fourth minute volley on beginning and started slow-
Tuesday, as they try to Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey (right), competes for the ball with Udinese’s Kwadwo Asamoah
a possible move for the Togolese interna- ed as saying on Wolves official website. (AFP) during the Champions League qualifying playoff first leg soccer match at the Emirates ly but got more aggressive
secure a place in the group Stadium in London, Aug 16. (AP) as the game went on.”