BlackRock Acquires An 8.2 Percent Stake in Manchester United

BlackRock Acquires An 8.2 Percent Stake in Manchester United
By BlackRock [Public domain], <a href="">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

Private equity firm, BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) acquired 8.2 percent stake in Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), the British soccer club with a record of winning 19 league titles.

BlackRock Acquires An 8.2 Percent Stake in Manchester United

Based on its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) own 3.26 million shares of Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU). The private equity firm also made investments in Formula One motor racing business.

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Billionaire investor, George Soros owned 8 percent stake in the soccer club. He initiated his position in the team in August last year.

Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) went public last August with an offering price of $14 per share. According to the New York Times DealBook, the soccer club took advantage of the Jobs Act, which was enacted to help private companies raise capital. Machester United raised $4.3 billion from its IPO. The Glazer family owned the team.

Manchester United recently announced the extension of its sponsorship agreement with Singha as the official beer partner of the team. In a statement, Richard Arnold commercial director for the team said, “2013 sees Singha celebrate its 80th anniversary and what better way to commemorate this than to renew our successful relationship. Manchester United is delighted to be keeping Singha within its family of sponsors and looking forward to building on the fantastic achievements the partnership has created so far. I am confident the next three years will be just as positive.”

Last week, the soccer club said it acquired one-third minority stake in Manchester United Television (MUTV) from British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (LON:BSY). MUTV is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manchester United.

According to Manchester United, its acquisition of Sky’s stake in MUTV is a natural progression, and it is the team’s desire to have a full control in content generation and distribution capabilities across all of its businesses. MUTV is available in 57 countries worldwide.

Arnold said, “The acquisition of Sky’s stake is great news for all of our fans who watch us around the globe, MUTV, its staff and the Club. We look forward to continuing to enhance our media proposition and distribution capabilities in the years to come and delivering some of the best and most compelling content to our 659 million followers.

“Sky has been an active and highly-valued partner since the channel’s inception and has helped to build the best and most watched club football channel in the world. We will continue to have a close relationship with Sky in the future,” added Arnold.

In other Manchester United news this morning, analysts at BAML have raised their price target on the stock. They note that ‘despite attractive secular positioning and a 1st place EPL rank, we maintain our Neutral rating due to the company’s high trading multiple and variability surrounding on-field performance, wage costs and development of green-field commercial opportunities. Key NT catalysts incl. UEFACL performance, Nike renewal and refi. potential. Our new $17.50 PO = 12x CY14E EBITDA (preamort.) and 22x CY14E EPS, premium multiples reflective of above avg. growth.’

Shares of Manchester United were trading around $16.78 per share on Thursday morning at the New York Stock Exchange.

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