Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bloomberg: Glazers Weren't Truthful with Finances at IPO

Bloomberg reports on more reasons for Man U fans to hate the Glazers:
Manchester United Plc team owner Malcolm Glazer is so loathed by fans that some once burned him in effigy. They might hate him even more if they learn how he tried to hide the true state of the soccer club’s finances before its August initial public offering.

The struggle to keep secret the material risks the storied team faces is detailed in letters between club executives and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before United’s August IPO. The SEC demanded and got more disclosure about team losses, debt and benefits for Glazer and members of his family.

What investors and fans weren’t able to see until a month after the team raised $233 million selling shares, was the owners’ behind-the-scenes resistance to disclosing more transparent earnings data, details about Glazer’s debt and what the IPO money was to be used for. The full story of the correspondence, posted on the SEC’s website without fanfare in September, hasn’t been previously reported to investors or fans.

The SEC-United letters show seven Glazer family members have kept almost total control of the club after the IPO, saddling the team with higher taxes to evade potential shareholder lawsuits by incorporating offshore.

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