Manchester United are “close” to completing a new shareholder program that will give fans the chance to buy a stake in the club and have the right to vote.
It comes in the wake of major supporter unrest against the Glazer family – which has been hugely unpopular ever since a controversial takeover was initially completed in 2005 – following the club’s decision to register as the founder of the failed European Super League project.
Sky News has reported that talks between the club and the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) have reached an advanced stage in terms of plans that would be expected to see fans granted a “preliminary share” of shares to own.
It is said that the initial value of that tranche may be in the order of $ 10 million. For a club whose total value was estimated by Forbes earlier this year to be over $ 4 billion, it is potentially only a 0.025% of the shares set aside for the fans.
However, the shares intended for fan ownership are expected to be a “new class of equity” with the same voting power as the B shares owned by the Glazer family.
Class B shares have approximately 10 times the voting value compared with ordinary Class A shares. It is worth noting that when shares have recently been made available for sale by Avram Glazer, who is United’s co-chairman, and brothers Kevin and Edward, they have been A shares rather than the more valuable B shares.
So even though supporters may only be granted a small stake in the club at the moment, the power and influence of these shares is more significant than it may initially seem. It is also reported that additional shares may be issued to fans in the future.
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