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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 10:45 GMT
Man Utd 'in share probe'
Manchester United's share price
Manchester Utd's share price leapt on news of the deal
City watchdog The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is reported to be investigating Manchester United's groundbreaking partnership with the New York Yankees.

The FSA is believed to be concerned that news of the deal was released up to two hours before the club made an official announcement to the stock market.

Under City rules companies must tell the markets first about new deals to prevent investors with prior knowledge making a killing.

Manchester United's shares jumped more than five per cent following the official announcement of the tie-up at on Wednesday.

Biggest deal in history

One investor was reported to have made 8,800, after buying 40,000 shares at 218p, minutes before the price shot up to 240p.

An FSA spokesman refused to confirm or deny reports that it was investigating Manchester United.

A spokesman said: "We look into cases where it appears that there might have been a leak of information ahead of a general market announcement."

Manchester United's joint marketing deal with American baseball giants the Yankees is one of the biggest of its kind in the history of sport.

Man Utd are already the richest football club in the world and this deal, potentially worth billions of pounds, is set to further consolidate their position.

The Yankees will use United's own vast network in Europe and the Far East to sell their distinctive merchandise.

Under the deal, David Beckham and Fabien Barthez will be paraded at the Yankee Stadium, with Orlando Hernandez and outfielder Bernie Williams visiting Old Trafford.

United will also embark on a pre-season tour of North America in 2003.

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