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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 18:14 GMT
Q&A: Malcolm Glazer and Man Utd

Malcolm Glazer, the US billionaire looking to buy Manchester United, has succeeded in ousting three United directors from the board after a vote at the company's annual general meeting.

This followed Manchester United's decision to terminate talks with Mr Glazer about a potential takeover offer reported to be worth close to 790m ($1.4bn).

Manchester United is now seeking urgent talks with Mr Glazer and other leading shareholders as it seeks to put an end to the takeover speculation destabilising the world's most famous football club.

BBC News examines the latest events in the takeover saga.

Malcolm Glazer
Has Mr Glazer finally got his hands on Manchester United?

What happened at Manchester United's AGM?

Malcolm Glazer used his 28.1% stake in the club to block the reappointment of three Manchester Utd directors - legal advisor Maurice Watkins, commercial director Andy Anson and non-executive director Philip Yea.

Mr Glazer is reported to have been angry at Manchester Utd's decision to end discussions with him about a potential takeover offer last month.

Manchester Utd terminated the talks claiming that Mr Glazer's proposals were not in the best interests of the club.

Despite the end of talks, Mr Glazer still asked to be given access to confidental commercial information about the club, a standard preliminary step in any friendly takeover approach.

Manchester United refused to agree to this, leading Mr Glazer to veto the appointment of the three directors.

However, Mr Glazer's actions may have backfired.

JP Morgan, Mr Glazer's main financial backers, said it would no longer support the tycoon in any takeover approach.

The firm is reported to have been dismayed that Mr Glazer ignored its advice not to seek a confrontation with the club over the directors' appointment.

What will Manchester United do next?

Manchester United said it was "very disappointed" with the outcome of the AGM.

It has called on the Glazer family to "clarify" its intentions regarding the club and has promised to take action to bring the situation to a head as soon as possible.

Manchester United is seeking an emergency meeting with Mr Glazer and with other leading shareholders including the Irish businessmen JP McManus and John Magnier.

The duo potentially hold the key to Manchester's Utd's future since they own a 28.9% stake in the club.

Mr Glazer has held talks with the duo about buying their stake for a reported 300p a share, but these talks broke down.

Mr McManus and Mr Magnier abstained in the crucial vote over the directors' reappointment, effectively allowing Mr Glazer to veto the appointment.

Man United's main shareholders
John Magnier & JP McManus - 28.89%
Malcolm Glazer - 28.11%

It has also been reported that Manchester Utd will ask the Takeover Panel, the regulatory body that oversees takeover activity in the UK, to force Mr Glazer to make his intentions clear.

It is not clear what action the Takeover Panel could take since Manchester United is not currently the subject of an official takeover offer.

This would limit the length of time that any potential suitor would have to finalise a deal.

However, Manchester United is still expected to tell the Takeover Panel that the speculation around Mr Glazer's intentions is damaging the club

What will Malcolm Glazer do next?

It has been reported that Mr Glazer will seek an emergency general meeting in order to install a director of his own choosing on the board.

This would give him greater influence over the club's activities.

However, this would require the support of other leading shareholders, particularly Mr McManus and Mr Magnier.

Their long-term intentions remain unclear.

Mr Glazer's ambition to take control of Manchester Utd could be severely hampered by JP Morgan's withdrawal.

He is likely to have to stump up more cash in order to tempt Mr McManus and Mr Magnier to sell their shares.

19 October, 2004 - buys 1.27m shares for 3.6m, ups stake to 28.11%
18 October - buys 6m shares for 17m, stake now 27.63%
15 October - Spends 45m to increase holding to 25.3%
24 June - Buys 2.41m shares, stake now at 19.17%
26 April - Increases stake to 18.25% with purchase of 4.1m shares
25 February - Buys 1m shares at 285p each, raising holding to 16.69%
12 February - Holds 16.31% share in club after buying 5.4m shares
28 November 2003 - Spends 30m on buying a 4.5% share in United raising stake to 14.31%
October -Raises stake in club three times to a total holding of 9.66%
26 September -Mr Glazer tells stock market he holds a 3.17% stake in Manchester United

What does this mean for Manchester United?

The saga is unlikely to have had any direct impact on Manchester United's performances on the pitch, but it has been unsettling for the club as whole.

Tensions have been particularly high since Manchester United confirmed it had received a preliminary approach which could lead to a takeover.

Angry supporters disrupted a game involving Manchester United's reserve team in protest. A car owned by a Manchester United director - who had reportedly sold his shares into the market, where they were subsequently bought Mr Glazer - was vandalised.

As long as Mr Glazer's future intentions remain unknown, an element of doubt and concern will hang over Old Trafford.

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