Manchester United, the English soccer club that raised $233.3 million in its U.S. initial public offering, received the greatest demand for its stock from U.S. investors, Vice Chairman Edward Woodward said.
The 134-year-old team with a record 19 championships and the Glazer family, which bought the team in 2005, sold 16.7 million shares Thursday, equivalent to a 10% stake, for $14 each, below the range of $16 to $20 it marketed to investors globally.
“The understanding that U.S. investors have around sports business, given it’s the most developed sport market in the world, has been a benefit,” Mr. Woodward said in a telephone interview after the stock started trading.
The stock closed its first day of trading Friday flat at $14 after climbing as much as 1.4%.
Mr. Woodward said the club decided to go public at $14 because the caliber of investors at that level would reduce the risk of volatility experienced by recent high-profile IPOs. The U.S. market froze for more than a month following Facebook’s record $16 billion offering. The stock sank as much as 32% in the weeks following its May debut.
The Glazers will maintain almost 99% of the voting control, according to the original terms of the prospectus, because the Class B shares they own carry 10 votes apiece, compared to 1 vote each for the Class A shares sold in the IPO.
The Glazers sold half of the shares in the IPO, while the company sold the other half and planned to use the proceeds to repay debt. Borrowings stood at £437 million ($685 million) as of June 30, and the company has spent more than £500 million on service costs associated with the owners’ debt.