Glazers linked with flotation and buy-out
The long-term future of Manchester United is the subject of speculation as its Glazer family owners have been linked with both a sale to Qatar Holdings and a floatation on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
A report in The People says that United's current transfer splash - including imminent deals for David De Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young plus links with Luka Modric, Wesley Sneijder and Samir Nasri - is being funded ahead of a takeover by Qatar, who were linked with a buy-out throughout the 2010-11 season.
Qatar Holdings, a division of the Qatar Investment Authority, are said to have had a £1.5billion offer turned down last year and were rumoured to have handed over a £250 million loan to pay off some steepling Payment-In-Kind notes. United's spokesmen have always denied such a link and insisted the club is not for sale at any price.
Qatari interests have recently assumed full control of Paris St-Germain, and now sponsor Barcelona, which may bring into question the idea of a conflict if interest for the game's administrators.
The Sunday Times however, says that the Glazer family have held talks with investment banks to investigate listing the Premier League champions on the Hong Kong stock exchange, valuing the club at £1.7 billion, more than double the £790 million paid for the club in 2005.
Their interest is said to have been triggered by the successful floatation of companies like Samsonite and Prada in Asia. The club's annual revenue of £286m and operating profit of £91m were the highest in the Premier League but Red Football, the club's holding company, incurred a £79m loss through interest payments on the debts piled on to the Glazer family via a leveraged buy-out.