Business of Sport

United's Asian plans on hold

2011-09-20 19:14
Manchester United (File)
London - English Premier League soccer champions Manchester United have put immediate plans for a $1 billion flotation in Singapore on hold due to market volatility but still plan a listing before the end of the year, a source close to the initial public offering (IPO) told Reuters.

"They are not ready to go because of the way the markets are looking. Whilst they've got the approval for listing they certainly don't have the intention to go immediately and they're biding their time," the source said, adding that a launch was off the table for at least a week.

"Quarter four is still possible," the source said.

United had originally targeted a mid-October float.

The club received permission from the Singapore Exchange earlier in September for the IPO which will have a two-tier structure including non-voting preference shares.

Equity fundraising worldwide has pretty much ground to a halt as stock markets, which slumped in early August, have yo-yoed on euro zone debt worries.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) is still around 13.5 percent lower than it was at the start of August, depressing the likely valuation achievable by companies hoping to list.

Although equity capital market activity in Asia has shown signs of picking up sooner than either Europe and the US, with a string of companies announcing plans for share sales in Hong Kong, the uncertain outlook means many companies would rather hold off until things are more stable.

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