Tuesday 21 August 2012

Manchester United's shares in issue: a quick guide

The news that George and Robert Soros own 3,114,588 shares in Manchester United has led to some confusion about the number of shares the club has and hence the relative size of this stake. This is a quick guide.

Before the IPO on 9th August, the club's share structure was reorganised to create two classes of shares, "A" Shares and "B" Shares. 

Red Football LLC, the Glazers' Delaware company owned 100% of each class of share.

The IPO - two elements
The IPO was an offer of a total of 16,666,667 "A" Shares at $14 per share. No "B" Shares were offered. 

This total offer had two separate elements, the issue of 8,333,334 new "A" Shares by the company and the sale of 8,333,333 existing "A" Shares by the Glazers. The first element had the effect of increasing the total number of "A" Shares from the 31,352,366 before the offer to 39,685,700 afterwards. The number of "B" Shares remained unchanged.

The Glazers therefore ended up owning 58% of the "A" Shares and 100% of the "B" Shares, so 90% of all the shares in issue. Third party investors own 42% of the "A" Shares and none of the "B" Shares, so 10% of all the shares in issue.

Votes or lack of them
Each "B" Share has 10 votes, and each "A" Share has 1 vote. Because of this structure the 10% of total shares owned by third parties only command 1.3% of the company's votes. In aggregate all the "A" Shares representing 24% of the company, only command 3.1% of the votes.

The Soros position
The Soros family bought 3,114,588 "A" Shares in the IPO. That is a pretty significant 18.7% of the shares sold in the IPO, but only 7.85% of the total number of "A" Shares and 1.9% of the whole company. Being "A" Shares this stake only has 0.24% of the votes.

At a price of $14 per share, the Soros family paid $43.6m for this stake. At yesterday's closing price of $13.06, the stake is now worth c. $40.7m.