24th November 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
- Man Utd owner mulls sale
- UK regulator investigates Apple and Google
Man Utd owner mulls sale
This week Manchester United’s owners, the American Glazer family, announced they’re exploring options that include a potential sale of the football club.
How did we get here?
Reports have been circulating since August that the Glazers could be looking in a full or partial sale of the club or outside investments in the stadium and infrastructure redevelopment.
Bloomberg reported that a deal could value the club at about £5bn, compared to the £790m paid for it in 2005.
The Glazers have been unpopular owners
Over the past 17 years of ownership the Glazers have faced regular protests from fan groups. Much of this stems from the fact that the family took out $1.2bn in debt to fund the takeover when the club was completely debt-free beforehand.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been funnelled into the repayment of this debt meaning less money to invest in the club which fans believe has hindered the club’s trophy winning track record. Man Utd hasn’t won any silverware since 2017 and haven’t held the Premier League title since 2013.
Also the family’s involvement in the disastrous breakaway European Super League drew heavy fan backlash.
Why sell now?
- English football clubs have become hot property. This year alone Chelsea FC sold for £4.3bn, receiving 200 bids, and earlier this month Liverpool FC’s owners put the team up for sale after 12 years and could go for a similar price tag.
- Man Utd’s stadium and training facility require huge investment to bring it up to date, the Glazers could avoid this outlay with a sale now at an attractive return.
Takeaway: Despite Man Utd’s recent underperformance on the pitch, it still has a huge global fan base making it arguably the biggest brand in football. This could mean it attracts interest from some of the largest investment funds and wealthiest people in the world, just like the sale of Chelsea did earlier this year. However the gloomy economic outlook and higher interest rates could make potential buyers more cautious.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- Scottish government loses independence referendum court case
- Biggest ever UK fraud operation busts phone scammers who stole millions
- Credit Suisse flags hefty loss as rich clients pull out
- Angry protests at giant iPhone factory in China
- Founder of failed crypto exchange FTX apologises to ex-employees
- easyJet launches recruitment campaign for over-45s
- Made.com’s unsecured creditors and suppliers to get under 2% of £187m owed
- New Bond Street loses crown as most expensive shopping street in Europe
UK regulator investigates Apple and Google
This week the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into Apple and Google regarding the companies’ dominance in the mobile market.
How did we get here?
The CMA is concerned that the two US tech giants have a stranglehold on mobile browsing with their iOS and Android operating systems which could lead to bad outcomes for consumers and developers.
Last year 97% of all mobile web usage in the UK happened on Apple or Google browsers.
For years developers have complained that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google which lead to added costs and frustration as they have to deal with bugs and glitches when building web pages. Apple and Google have argued that restrictions are needed to protect users.
Apple and Google are no strangers to regulatory scrutiny
They along with other US Big Tech names like Microsoft and Meta have faced regulatory investigations not only in their home market but also in the UK and Europe.
- In 2018 the EU fined Google €4.3bn over how it favoured its own search engine on Android phones.
- The UK government says it’s gearing up to crack down on Big Tech more broadly, with chancellor Jeremy Hunt saying last week he’s gearing up to present a new bill that will tackle “abuses” by tech giants.
- So far this year the CMA already forced Meta to unwind its proposed acquisition of Giphy, a deal which was completed in May 2020.
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