Freshfields' Rawlinson enters Man U fray with Red Knights

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  • It's all very well Keith Harris getting involved but I am not pitching in unless I know this has the backing of Orville.

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  • I am a Cheshire Solicitor and Season ticket holder.
    I don't hold out any hope of seeing the Americans go in the short term. Seen it all before with the other knight (Michael Knighton) and the "Irish" former pals of Fergie who eventually gave the Americans the opportunity of total acquisition.
    I hope I am wrong!

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  • The last time I saw a Freshfields partner involved in running a football club was when Chris Mort was at Newcastle United.

    That went well.

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  • See Robert Peston's comments at
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/03/can_an_investment_banker_and_a.html
    (Rawlinson is not mentioned unfortunately).

    "It is also worth noting that although they've mooted a price of £1bn to acquire the club, no detail has been provided about how much of that would be funded by debt and how much by equity.
    So Man Utd fans should ask to see the small print before rallying to their cause, because there would be no benefit to them of replacing one debt-heavy financial structure for another."

    (Well, other than Rawlinson it not a Yank and doesn't have a weird whispy beard).

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  • Agree with the last poster. What other type of business could be bought for £1bn without a significant chunk of debt.
    What football fans have to understand is that if you want to have your shiny new stadia, big money signings and be part of The Best League in the Known Universe (copyright Sky Sports), then you have to accept the fact that your club is going to be run as a business. Which often means it's run with debt that needs to be serviced.
    If you want football which is designed for the fans, then watch the Bundesliga - a competitive league which is not dominated by 2 or 3 teams and where you can take a family to a game without shelling out the best part of a month's wages. The Premier League, meanwhile, is going to continue courting the Yankee dollar.
    You know what they say: You lie with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

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  • Re Diego Forlan;

    It's fair to say that almost any large scale acquisition is partly funded by debt. However, when the "business" we are discussing needs to sell a one in a million player for £80 million to make a meagre profit (relative to the debt) of only £40 million in order to service that debt, something needs to be done. They don't have a Cristiano Ronaldo to sell every year.

    I'm sure a club with the fan base of Man United can cobble together enough multi-millionaire fans to raise the funds to buy the club outright free of significant debt, but whether they can continue to satisfy players' transfer fees and wages thereafter is another thing. However, the fact the prospective buyers care about the club is a massive improvement on the current owners.

    The Glazer's don't give two hoots about Man United - the collateral provided by the club's assets is all that they are interested in. If it wasn't for Sir Alex Ferguson keeping things hunky dory on the football field they would be screwed.

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  • Ah, the Bundesliga. Too right. Affordable prices, full stadiums (including Dortmund with 65,000 every week, including a terrace (remember those?) holding 15,000. Clubs whose fans vote on selling the naming rights of the stadium and turn it down, even though it would have brought in millions. Players don't sleep with their team-mates' girlfriends. And great club names: Borussia Verein für Leibesübungen 1900 Mönchengladbach. But in the end Bayern Munich win.

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  • Why does the legal press insist in indulging the over-inflated egos of the likes of Mark Rawlinson by making non-stories like this their lead items?
    A bunch of mid-life crisis males wanting to play with expensive toys is not news.
    Would "Slaughter and May partner buys big red Ferrari and drives it very fast" be a story? I don't think so.

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  • Suitably cynical female: er...because it will involve complex legal work?

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  • You can tell Mr Rawlinson is a lawyer and not an accountant! How can a business paying £42M (and rising if you include the roll up) in interest with a net profit of -£31M (ignoring player trading) and debt of over £700M be worth anything like 1bn US? I thought one of the Red Knights was supposed to be an economist!

    I recall that Arsenal's decision to do a securitised bond was considered risky and too expensive! Not looking that risky or expensive now is it even with libor at an all time low! And it is certainly no riskier than borrowing PIK loans from US hedge funds at 14.25%. Arsenals total debt payments are £20M compared to Manyoo's £25M just on the PIK loans!

    This crowd of do gooders will do the same as the Glazers have done, the only difference is it will be English rather than American directors driving the club into the ground.

    Manyoo should think about the Barcelona model if the fans are willing to dip deep enough in their pockets to buy it out, plenty of high net worth's to tap up in Surrey, not that many in Salford though!

    The biggest mistake was Gill and others taking the club public in the first place which allowed clowns like the Glazers to ever get involved.

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  • Michael Ballack - point taken about Bayern, but Germany has had 5 different champions in the last 10 years, compared to the not-really-best-league-in-the-world's three.
    And they've had a good few more qualify for the Champs League in the same time.
    Apologies for the footy pedantry

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  • Karl-Heinz, fair enough, but just to out-pedant you, of those 10 years, Bayern have won five times. And the Wolfsburg title was an aberration thanks to Bayern making the mistake of chucking out Felix Magath (he went to Wolfburg, you'll remember), even though he'd won them the league-cup double twice in a row.
    Don't get me wrong, I hate Bayern, not least because they are the only club in the Bundesliga who spend money like they're in the Premier league. But even they are an "e.V", i.e. non-profit club organization (albeit one advised by Milbank Tweed).

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  • Who cares? I support Bochum.

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  • Bernd, you poor bloke. But you might even avoid relegation this year. Remarkable achievement.

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  • @Diego Forlan

    Clearly you are not aware that the PLC prior to the Glazer takeover was run with almost no debt.

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  • I think the idea is to find 50 super-rich United fans, each contributing £15m (raising £750m). Then to finance the rest of the acquisition with debt (£250m).

    Once they've acquired the club, they could pay off that debt by re-listing the company and offering £250m of shares to fans.

    Then, to satisfy the Red Knights need to see a return on their investment, the could pay out a small dividend every year.

    The key differences with the Glazer's ownership would be:
    - majority of the profits invested back into the team;
    - no £700m of debts hanging over the club (including the timebomb PIK notes which, if they are not redeemed by 2017, will total £700m alone); and
    - total fan ownership - meaning all the decisions are in the best interests of the club.

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  • I have £500 and want to join the Red Knights. The Red Knights should open this up so that all real fans can help to buy the club. I only made a few easy quid when I bought and sold my shares in the PLC the first time around. If it worth a billion £`s now, I sold too soon. As a true fan, I want to own it again so that I can sell it in say 2 years and hopefully double my money so that I can afford another season ticket.
    Them Glazers have done for the club and are not true fans. They should concentrate on rounders and that sport played by people dressed up as Michelin men

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  • @suitably cynical female

    What is a person of your intellect even doing on this site? Please go hang yourself.

    Not an intellectual comment, I know, but necessary.

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