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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 March, 2005, 11:42 GMT
Fans reject Glazer's Man Utd plan
Malcolm Glazer
Mr Glazer and his family hold a 28.1% stake in the club
Supporters of Manchester United have said they are not interested in any offer Malcolm Glazer may make them as part of his bid to take over the club.

The US billionaire is considering his options after completing due diligence of the MUFC books, and has aired giving fans a stake in the Old Trafford club.

But Sean Bones of Shareholders United said: "We dismiss any notion that this offer would be in any way acceptable."

Mr Glazer has still to launch his much-reported 800m offer for United.

In February he presented the board with detailed proposals on an offer to buy the football club.

This is an obviously token attempt to soft-soap and placate the fans and supporter-shareholders
Sean Bones, Shareholders United

His team say there are no problems ahead, although the direction that Irish duo John Magnier and JP McManus, who own a 28.9% in the club, will take is still not clear.

Fans hope the duo, who hold their stake through Cubic Expression, will side with them, while the Glazer camp know that the pair's support is crucial to any bid succeeding.

In February the pair said they were "long-term investors in the club" and there have been media reports that they believe an 800m bid undervalues the club.

Debt level

Mr Glazer and his family hold a 28.1% stake in the club, making them Manchester United's second-biggest shareholders. They also own the successful Tampa Bay Buccaneers American football team, based in Florida.

From a hard-nosed financial viewpoint, you have to say 3 a share is a very good price
Harry Philip, Inner Circle Sports

Details of the Malcolm Glazer proposal remain unclear but it is thought that the amount of debt in the offer, which was such a stumbling block to an earlier proposal last year, has been reduced.

According to widespread reports, the 500m package of borrowed money to fund Mr Glazer's previous bid has been replaced by 300m of debt and 200m of preference shares.

It has also been suggested he would leave 25% of shares available to supporters groups in an effort to placate fears over the future of their club.

'Pig in a poke'

But Mr Bones said: "This is an obviously token attempt to soft-soap and placate the fans and supporter-shareholders into thinking that they will have some sort of stake in the club after Glazer takes over.

"We believe that, much like his other plans for the future of Manchester United, this is also a pig in a poke.

"Glazer would not offer shares in Manchester United, he would only offer them in his bidding company Red Football Corporation. They would almost certainly be Class B shares with no voting rights and would be far less than 25%.

Man United supporters demonstrate against the Malcolm Glazer bid
Feeling among supporters is strongly against the bid

"The staggering thing is he thinks all we care about is money. Does this man not realise the emotional stake supporters have in the club?"

In February the United board reluctantly gave Mr Glazer limited access to club accounts.

In a statement, the club said it would allow Mr Glazer "limited due diligence" to give him the opportunity to take the proposal on to a formal bid.

But chief executive David Gill said the board continued to oppose Mr Glazer's plans, calling his assumptions "aggressive" and his plan "damaging".

However, although fans and board are opposed the bid, many institutional investors have taken a more positive attitude to the offer, which values United at 300p a share.

On Friday the stock closed at 274 pence.




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