Manchester United are ‘close’ to finalising a new share ownership scheme that will give fans the chance to purchase a stake in the club and hold voting rights.
It comes in the wake of major supporter unrest towards the Glazer family - who have been hugely unpopular ever since a controversial takeover was initially completed in 2005 - following the club’s decision to sign up as a founder member of the failed European Super League project.
Sky News has reported that talks between the club and the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) have reached an advanced stage over the plans that would be expected to see fans granted an ‘initial tranche’ of shares to own.
It is said that the initial value of that tranche could be in the region of $10m. For a club whose overall worth was estimated by Forbes earlier this year to be in excess of $4bn, that is potentially just a 0.025% stake set aside for fans.
However, the shares intended for fan ownership are expected to be a ‘new class of equity’ with the same voting power as the B shares owned by the Glazer family.
B shares carry around 10 times the voting power of ordinary A shares. It is worth noting that when shares have recently been made available for sale by Avram Glazer, who is United co-chairman, and brothers Kevin and Edward, they have been A shares, rather than the more precious B shares.
So while supporters may only be granted a tiny stake in the club for the time being, the power and influence given by those shares is more significant than it might initially seem. It is also reported that further shares could be issued to fans in the future.
Source : 90min