Sun, Jun 12, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Glazer continues to gobble up shares of Manchester United


New American owner Malcolm Glazer increased his controlling stake in Manchester United on Friday when two senior club officials sold him their shares.

According to an announcement on the London Stock Exchange, chief executive David Gill sold his 11,535 shares to Glazer's Red Football Ltd at a price more than three times what he paid for them.

The club's group finance director, Nick Humby, also sold his 2,546 shares at a profit of around 35 percent.

Glazer became majority shareholder of Man United on May 16 in a ?790-million (US$1.47 billion) takeover -- most of it borrowed money -- of the world's richest soccer club. He owned more than 76 percent of the shares before Friday's purchase.

Glazer is offering to buy out all remaining shareholders and hopes to take the club off the stock market by June 22.

The move came on the same day that a British newspaper reported that Glazer plans to raise ticket prices by 54 percent over the next five years.

The Times of London based its front-page report on "previously unseen documents'" outlining Glazer's plans to increase revenue at the club. The paper said the cost of tickets for Champions League games next season would go up by 25 percent.

The Times also said that Manchester United will stage an exhibition game every year in Tampa, raising ?2 million (US$3.62 million) in revenues.

The price of an average Manchester United home game ticket is currently ?30 (US$54.6). Under Glazer's plans, that would increase to ?46 (US$83.72) by 2010, the Times said.

The 2010 prices would still be just below the current cost for a ticket at Chelsea, the most expensive in the league.

But Manchester United fans' groups, which have fiercely opposed Glazer's takeover, said the prices will be out of their reach.

Glazer has appointed his three sons -- Joel, Bryan and Avram -- to the United board.

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