2nd January 2010, 22:30
First Team Regular
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Behind my
ALL issues relating to the bond issue and club finances
Manchester United examine £600m bond issue
From The Sunday Times
January 3, 2010
SOURCE: Manchester United examine £600m bond issue - Times Online
MANCHESTER UNITED is considering a £600m bond issue as part of the Premier League club’s battle to bring its spiralling debts under control.
It is understood that the Glazer family, the American leisure tycoons who bought the club in 2005, have asked two investment banks to look at ways of easing the debt burden.
JP Morgan, the US bank that engineered the Glazers’ £790m takeover, and Deutsche Bank, have been working on options to improve the club’s financial situation amid concerns that its debts could soon have serious repercussions.
In the past few weeks, advisers have begun sounding out potential investors on a bond issue. The cash would be used to pay back some of the club’s existing debts.
Manchester United is not the only big club to face debt problems. Last week Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, converted £340m in interest-free loans into equity.
Manchester United, champions for the last three years, owe about £700m to banks, financial institutions and hedge funds, according to debt specialists, Capital Structure. Most of this stems from the Glazer family’s takeover, which was criticised by fans because so much debt was being loaded on to the club.
The club insists the debt is not a problem because the annual interest on the various loans is covered by its operating profit. In 2008, net interest on all its debts was £69m against an operating profit £72m. The main concern for the club’s owners is the £175m of loans that the Americans are personally responsible for and which “roll up” interest at an annual rate of 14.25%.
The so-called payment in kind (Pik) notes borrowed from Perry Capital and Citadel, two American hedge funds, initially stood at £138m in 2006, but have since accrued £40m of unpaid interest.
If the club’s financial performance deteriorates below a certain level then the hedge funds have the right to appoint their own directors to the board.
Sources familiar with the situation say the amount that Manchester United will seek to raise depends on the appetite shown by investors. At present the figure is between £500m and £600m. If demand is strong, the club could seek more.
It is unclear whether the proceeds of a bond issue would be used to repay the controversial Pik debt or the £520m that is secured against the club. The Glazers would prefer to pay back the more costly Pik debt, but experts said any attempt to prioritise the hedge funds that lent the money would be met with stiff opposition from the club’s senior bank lenders.
Instead, bankers said that the club might look to pay off the bank debt, which is likely to have higher interest rates than the cost of the annual coupon on the bond.
The club put in place a more long-term financing structure in 2006 and has since attempted to refinance on a number of occasions but, as many British companies have found, the credit crunch and resulting economic climate have scuppered their efforts.
Fans’ groups have cast doubt on whether the world record £80m transfer fee the club received for Cristiano Ronaldo last summer will be reinvested. However, the club has said publicly that Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager, has plenty of money available to spend.
Im not a finance whizz so please can somebody explain in layman's terms what a 'bond' is and how this would be beneficial to the club given our financial situation?