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Glazer revises offer for Man Utd
Updated: 2004-12-21 09:38

Manchester United have confirmed that American business tycoon Malcolm Glazer has made revisions to the tentative offer to take over the club which was snubbed by chief executive David Gill.

The board of Manchester United said said that US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer, seen here, was considering 'potential revisions' to his previous unofficial takeover offer for the English football giants. [AFP]

Speculation mounted over the weekend that Glazer intended to launch an official bid for the club after securing funding for an ?00million takeover.

Shares rose over 6% as the rumours reached fever pitch, although United have stated Glazer's proposition is 'very preliminary' and they will not re-open negotiations with him until he puts a definitive proposal to the Red Devils' board.

The new package is believed to involve Glazer taking on significantly less debt than the previous one, which Gill believed was not in the best interests of the club.

Relations between the two parties have been frosty ever since, with Glazer using his 28.11% stake to dump three senior members of the Old Trafford board - Maurice Watkins, Philip Yea and Andy Anson - at United's annual general meeting last month.

That move cost the billionaire owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL franchise the support of his bank, JP Morgan, and PR company Brunswick, and - it seemed - any hope of gaining control of the world's richest soccer club.

Instead, Glazer has spent the last few weeks searching for alternative support and today's statement indicates he has found it.

'The board of Manchester United confirms that at a shareholder meeting, Glazer has indicated, on a very preliminary basis, potential revisions to its previous proposal,' said United.

'The board does not intend to open discussions on this matter unless it receives a definitive proposal from Glazer.'

The latter half of United's reaction confirms their irritation with Glazer's handling of his takeover approach.

Twice the American's own statements have forced the club into an unwanted offer period, while it was at a meeting at which Gill was expressing his desire to bring commercial director Anson back into the fold where he was told of Glazer's plan.

Having rejected the Florida-based businessman's approach to look at the United accounts in order to complete due diligence, Glazer now seems to have little option other than to go public with his bid, leaving Gill and his fellow directors to decide whether to recommend it to the remainder of United's shareholders.

Should Glazer go through with his plan, the spotlight would then focus on Irish duo John Magnier and JP McManus, who through their Cubic Expression investment vehicle remain United's major shareholders with a 28.9% stake.

No matter what recommendation Gill makes, if Cubic sell their holding - netting them a vast profit in the process - Glazer would own over half the club and effectively gain control.

Today's development is sure to be greeted with alarm by United's hardcore support, who have mounted a vigorous campaign against Glazer and have warned of 'civil war' should he attempt to seize control.

Shareholders United spokesman Sean Bones said: 'We always felt Malcolm Glazer would be back, that is why we have continued to campaign against him so vigorously.

'Eric Cantona hit the nail on the head last night when when he said Glazer is not interested in our club. His only interest is making money.

'We want United fans to continue buying shares to help stave off the advances of this man, who is totally discredited in the eyes of almost the entire United support.'

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