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murdochs big match Friday, 9 April, 1999, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Football shares collapse
football in net
Football shares have suffered from an own goal
The UK Government's decision to block BSkyB's bid for Manchester United has caused football shares to plummet.

An incredible 85m was wiped off the value of Manchester United alone as its shares spiralled downwards.

Tens of millions of pounds were also wiped off the market value of other leading clubs.

Newcastle United's future hangs in the balance following a separate decision by the government to launch a full competition investigation for its bid from cable group NTL.

Newcastle's share price fell more than 11%, knocking almost 10m off its stock market worth.

Other clubs suffered from the ruling. Football shares had risen sharply on hopes that the major clubs could be subject to takeovers from other media groups following BSkyB's move.

However the government's decision appears to have blown a hole in these plans - causing share prices to fall back again.

Spiralling players wages have also threatened the profitability of many clubs. Teaming up with media companies to maximise broadcasting revenues was seen as a way to overcome this growing problem.

The major football fallers include:

  • Manchester United shares end down 32.5p, or almost 15%, at 218.5p.

  • Newcastle shares finish 9.5p lower, or 11%, at 75.5p.

  • Aston Villa shares end down 47.5p, or 9%, at 480p.

  • Tottenham Hotspur shares close 3p lower, or 4%, at 74.5p.

Now Manchester United faces an uncertain period on the stock market.

The Shareholders United Against Murdoch Group (SUAM) demanded an urgent meeting with the Manchester United board to discuss the future ownership of the club.

They want to explore the possibility of setting up a trust to combine the shares owned by Manchester United fans.

SUAM organiser Michael Crick said the organisation had succeeded in its original goal but could not be complacent.

"There are two big blocks of shares which are potentially up for grabs - the 14% owned by Martin Edwards and the 11% bought by Sky," said Mr Crick.

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