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Last Updated: Monday, 16 February, 2004, 16:47 GMT
Glazer keeps Man Utd options open
Malcolm Glazer

US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer has said he may make a bid for Manchester United, but added he may decide to sell his shareholding instead.

Speculation that Mr Glazer was preparing a bid grew last week after he raised his stake in the club to 16.31%.

Press reports also said that he had instructed an investment bank to explore a takeover offer.

But in a statement to the London Stock Exchange Mr Glazer said no financial adviser had been appointed.

Shares in Manchester United finished the day down 11.25 pence, or 4%, at 268.25p.

Will he or won't he?

The statement said the Malcolm Glazer Family Partnership had bought shares in Manchester United "because it has great admiration for Manchester United's rich history, loyal fans, great players, outstanding managers, winning tradition and for investment purposes".

It added: "As with any investment, it is considering its possible options, which may include increasing its shareholding or decreasing its shareholding in Manchester United.

"It could also include a possible offer for or a possible sale of its shareholding in Manchester United.

"Contrary to press speculation, no financial adviser has as yet been appointed in connection with its investment in Manchester United."

Complex battle

Manchester United's share price has risen steadily over the past few months as bid speculation has persisted.

On Friday, the shares jumped a further 5% following reports that Mr Glazer had appointed Commerzbank to advise on a bid strategy.

On Thursday, the US businessman had raised his stake in the club by buying 5.4 million shares.

The move came just a day after the investment vehicle for Irish businessmen John Magnier and JP McManus had lifted its stake to 28.89%, just below the level which would automatically trigger a full-scale bid.

The pair have been involved in a row with Manchester United's board over the club's corporate governance.

The issue has also been complicated by a battle between Mr Magnier and United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson over stud rights for the champion racehorse Rock of Gibraltar.

However, recent reports have suggested that the Irish businessmen are not interested in launching a takeover bid.

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