Thursday, 23 December 2010

Red Football parent companies issues two new shares each: for £249m!

As expected after passing resolutions on 22nd November allowing the issue of new shares to repay the PIKs, the two parent companies of Red Football (Red Football Joint Venture and its parent Red Football Shareholder) have today filed documents at Companies House confirming they have issued new shares. You can see the documents here (RFJV) and here (RFS).

Both companies issued two new shares each on PIK repayment day (22nd November). For both companies, one share has a paid up amount of £31,578,649.41 and the other share £217,525,995.10 for a total of £249,104,664.51 (that is how much was paid for the shares). Crucially, these new shares rank pari passu with the existing shares in each company, that is to say that they have no additional rights that the existing shares do not have. Could the split between two shares (13% and 87%) represent the proportions of the PIKs owned by the Glazers and third parties respectively?

Prior to these share issues, RFJV had 988,183 shares in issue and RFS had 990,002 shares in issue. Given these new shares represent only around 0.0002% of the shares already issued, we can pretty safely conclude that they have not been issued to a third party (who would pay £249m for 0.0002% of United?) and have therefore been issued to a Glazer company. We will know definitively in January or February when the "Annual Returns" are filed at Companies House.

We are thus left with the mystery of where the Glazers got £249m from. I stand by my view that this money probably came from a debt financing at the level of one of their US holding companies (the next company in the chain above Red Football Shareholder Ltd is "Red Football Limited Partnership" of Nevada). Others may think that the family had the cash knocking around somewhere. Today's filings probably mean we will never find out the truth as if there has been new debt issued it is in America where we cannot see the details.

At least we're top of the league.... Happy Christmas and happy New Year.