Will bond sale push Manchester United out of the red and into the black?
New figures released yesterday revealed that Manchester United are plunging towards the financial abyss. United's owners, the Glazer family, have resorted to a £500m bonds scheme in a bid to restructure the club's debt. How will it affect Sir Alex Ferguson and his Old Trafford team? The Daily Mail's City News Editor, Ian Lyall, reveals all. Money to spend? Wayne Rooney could be joined at United by new signings as the club has negotiated a new credit facility that can be used to fund buys What is a bond? It is a way of borrowing money. But instead of taking out a mortgage, David Gill, the Manchester United chief executive, and club owner Malcolm Glazer have decided to tap the money markets for cash. Still none the wiser? OK. Bonds operate in much the same way as shares. The club will issue them and receive cash in exchange - £500million to be precise. Like shares, the debt can be bought and sold after it is issued. Unlike shares, bonds must be repaid. In United's case the term of the loan is seven years and the bonds are secured against club assets such as Old Trafford and the Carrington training ground. It is an expensive IOU. Can I buy a bond? You will need deep pockets. The minimum subscription is likely to be £50,000. But the club's City advisers will not be counting on fans to bankroll the business. The loans will be sold to professional investors and other banks, who will receive a hefty rate of interest annually, possibly as much as 8.5 per cent. Bankers have already begun to drum up support for the bond in Asia and will follow this up in Europe and the US. Malcolm's boys: Joel, Avram and Bryan Glazer at Old Trafford Why are the club doing this? When the Glazers took control at Old Trafford in 2005, they did so by borrowing heavily. Today, United's debts are thought to stand at more than £700m. This has saddled the club with an annual interest bill of £42m, which would have wiped out the company's profits had it not been for the £80m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo. Are United being used to pay for the Glazers' excesses? Well, the bond issue will not significantly reduce the amount the club pay out in interest. However, it gives the Glazers more financial flexibility to pay themselves a decent dividend from the club's cashflow. It also frees them to pay off £202m debt that carried a punitive 14.25 per cent rate of interest. Valuable asset: Cristiano Ronaldo's sale helped make the club a profit last year Any reason to be afraid? It would certainly be a worry if the Glazers fail to drum up support for the bond, but this might hasten their departure from Old Trafford. Does Fergie have £60million to spend on players? It would appear so. As part of the announcements United revealed they had signed a revolving credit facility (overdraft) worth £75m, which can be used for transfers. United launch attempt to raise £500m as debt mountain bites championsPICTURE SPECIAL: Snow? What snow? Manchester United stars arrive in QatarUnderfire ref Clattenburg stands by United star Fletcher's sending offMANCHESTER UNITED FC
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