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Manchester United Selects U.S. IPO Banks

U.K. soccer club Manchester United is moving ahead with IPO plans for the U.S., selecting a team of bankers to manage the deal. The underwriters will include Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF), Credit Suisse Group (CS) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a person familiar with the offering. Morgan Stanley (MS), which was originally on the team to bring the deal in Singapore, likely won't join the U.S. listing syndicate, said a person familiar with the deal. The exact timing of the launch is unclear, as is the possible listing venue. Manchester United, one of the most successful teams in professional soccer, is setting its sights on a U.S. IPO after calling off plans for a $1 billion Singapore initial public offering late last year amid volatile markets. The Glazer family, headed by American businessman Malcolm Glazer, owns Manchester United. The family is also owner of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Manchester United representatives declined to comment. If Manchester United succeeds in coming public in the U.S., it will be the first sports team in a long time to do so. The last such IPO in the U.S. was the Cleveland Indians Baseball Co., which launched in 1998, according to data tracker Dealogic. Prior to that, Orlando Predators Entertainment Inc., an arena football team, went public in 1997. Neither stock did well, and the companies are now privately owned. The Green Bay Packers Inc. U.S. football team has been a shareholder-owned nonprofit since 1923, and recently sold more than 250,000 shares in a fifth stock offering since its founding. Its stock, which is often purchased by fans, isn't tradable. Elsewhere in the world, sports team IPOs have been more common, with two dozen in Dealogic's records since 1995; the most recent, in 2009, Cruzados SADP football club was listed in Chile. Manchester United traces its origins back to 1878, when its predecessor, Newton Heath LYR, was formed by railway yard workers. It joined the Football League in 1892, and changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 when a brewery owner invested in the team. Over the years, the team's title wins and its financial health have ebbed and flowed. Since 2000, it has won numerous titles, including five FA cups and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008, but it lost out on the English Premier League title on the last day of the season this year to crosstown rival Manchester City. -P.R. Venkat and Prudence Ho contributed to this article Write to Lynn Cowan at lynn.cowan@dowjones.com and Marietta Cauchi at marietta.cauchi@dowjones.com

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