George Soros Reports 7.9 Percent Stake in Manchester United

Wayne Rooney - P 2012

The English soccer club, the most valuable sports franchise in the world, has seen its stock decline since its recent IPO.

LONDON - Legendary investor George Soros has taken a nearly 7.9 percent stake in English soccer powerhouse Manchester United.

The stock of what is considered the most valuable sports franchise in the world has declined since its IPO earlier this month, but some on Wall Street may see the investment from Soros as a bullish sign.

In a regulatory filing late Monday, Soros Fund Management reported its economic stake of 7.85 percent in Manchester United, which had raised about $233 million with its U.S. stock market listing that followed a cancelled plan to list the stock in Asia last year.

The family of U.S. businessman Malcolm Glazer bought Manchester United, known as the Red Devils, in 2005 and continues to control it via voting shares. The family's control means Soros' voting stake is smaller than his financial stake.

On Monday, Man U's stock closed at $13.06, giving the club a market value of $2.14 billion, down from the $14 IPO price. Forbes magazine recently estimated the value of the soccer franchise at $2.23 billion. Since its stock market debut on Aug. 10, Man U's stock has traded as low as $12.80 and as high as $15.27.

The team, which made headlines here over the weekend by buying Dutch striker Robin van Persie from London rivals Arsenal, got its English Premier League season off to a bad start on Monday night, losing 1:0 to Everton.


Twitter: @georgszalai