What we’re hearing about the sale of Manchester United
Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, spoke to The Athletic about the potential sale of Manchester United in an article that evaluated how long the sales process may take, the prospects for a full takeover and why the team is on the market now.
“It (United) is a very marketable, enticing potential investment for the right owner, not least its storied history and its ability to generate a fanbase,” Kishner says. “This is a crown jewel a lot of folks will be very interested in trying to obtain. It will come down to questions of valuation.” The article goes on to note that the Raine Group, an investment banking firm, is acting as United's exclusive financial advisor. The partner at Raine that is leading the discussions had the same role in the sale of Chelsea.
Kishner added, “Raine will handle this in a very professional way, they will try to get maximum sterling, dollar, euro for this asset. Typically you’ll get a dozen or so declarations of interest, maybe more. They’ll whittle it down to a handful or less, and make them each think the other guy, or girl, is going higher. As far as disclosing names, often you’ll do that as part of the strategy to drive value.”
The article goes on to discuss the potential valuation of the team and the potential purchasers. Kishner noted that “[b]ased on what Chelsea went for, and based on what you’re hearing on this side of the ocean, I could easily see it establishing a record for a franchise.” Kishner also believes that "American investors will be interested in getting a foot in the door at United, if that’s what it comes down to." He expects the same individuals who went for Chelsea to look at the Manchester side.
The article further discusses the possibility of a minority investment. Kishner noted that “[t]he idea of selling minority stakes in these iconic clubs is not unheard of — it’s done all the time in the US. Some of the most prestigious clubs have done it successfully. Sometimes, people will take a minority interest as a path to gaining control. It’s a very viable way of raising capital.”
Read the full article in The Athletic here. Access may require a subscription.