Billionaire Soros takes piece of Manchester United

Billionaire financier George Soros is getting in on the game,

taking a minority stake in soccer club Manchester United.

Soros disclosed in a regulatory filing on Monday that he owns

7.85 percent of Manchester United’s Class A shares. The filing with

the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was made by Soros’

hedge fund, Soros Fund Management LLC.

The 134-year-old English Premier League soccer club went public

on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month.

The American family that owns the team, the Glazers, have voting

control over it through Class B shares that have 10 times the

voting power of the stock sold to the public.

The Glazer family also owns the American football team the Tampa

Bay Buccaneers. Malcolm Glazer is CEO of First Allied Corp., a

holding company with numerous business interests. His two sons

Avram and Joel are co-chairmen of Manchester United.

While Manchester United has rabid fan support, it did not

receive as hearty of a welcome on the public stock market. Its

debut over a week ago was considered disappointing, with enthusiasm

for the celebrated team overshadowed by its debt load and financial

track record. Manchester United carried 416.7 million pounds

($666.2 million) in debt as of March 31. It had no debt when it was

bought by the Glazer family in 2005.

Manchester United’s stock closed at $14 on its first trading

day, valuing the club at $2.3 billion, slightly higher than the

record $2 billion paid for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team

earlier this year.

The company’s stock closed at $13.06 on Monday, down 7 percent

from its debut.