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Glazer family to keep cash in Manchester United coffers - for now
Published : 25 May 2010 22:45:33
It is understood that the update, published as a condition of the club's £500 million bond issue, will show that the family have not taken revenue generated by the club to reduce their £212 million payment-in-kind (PIK) loans in the first quarter of this year. It is also understood that they have no plans to take out any money for the PIK loans in the rest of this financial year, which finishes at the end of June, and insiders say the club have not been made aware of any plans to do so in the immediate future. Related ArticlesFoster criticises anti-Glazer movement'Dimitar Berbatov not leaving Manchester United'Man United without Rooney for start of new seasonFans united for long haul against Glazer familyMan United 'to make £15m bid' for RodwellSport on televisionThe Glazers' decision to leave club revenues untouched this season, save for around £50 million due in interest to bond holders, is significant because of the expectation that, at some stage, the Glazers will tackle the fiercely expensive PIK loans. One of the primary reasons for issuing the bond was to free the family from restrictive covenants on the bank debts that prevented them from tackling the PIKs which, at their current interest rate of 16 per cent rolled-up annually, could grow to £600 million by maturity if they are not paid off. The terms of the bond allows the Glazers to take anything up to £95 million out of the club in dividends in the first year, offering the family the opportunity to make an immediate and significant reduction in the PIK debt. That they have not, for now at least, and a series of briefings following five years of almost total silence offers some insight into the Glazers' thinking as they face of unprecedented opposition and the prospect, albeit fading, of an offer from the Red Knights. The public relations benefits of not taking the dividends are clear. With Sir Alex Ferguson's United squad in obvious need of refreshment and supporters suspicious that the £80 million profit from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo has already been swallowed up, a summer raid on club revenues would confirm every prejudice about the family's intentions. The family's spokesman and insiders offer no insight in to the ultimate strategy for reducing the PIK debt, which is surely inevitable, but they are supremely confident that the club's ballooning commercial strength will rapidly make the debt burden less onerous. Commercial revenue, presently only worth 60 per cent of match-day and media revenues, is forecast to outstrip both within five years, thanks largely to a strategy of targeting regional sponsorship deals. The club's database of supporter information is also proving hugely valuable and the mobile phone and, irony or ironies, financial services sector are thought to offer the greatest opportunity for growth. It is implausible that the dividends will not be taken up at some stage but, given the confidence displayed in recent days, the Glazers have no plans to depart any time soon.