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Man U and the murky world of leveraged buyouts

Venture capitalist Michael Moritz explains what Manchester United's finances reveal about leveraged buyouts (LBOs): "What's happening to Manchester United football club is similar to the same fate that has beset many U.S. and European companies that have been taken over by LBO firms."

Five years ago Manchester United was a thriving, healthy business. The club had plenty of cash, was free of debt and had the firepower to invest in the future. All that changed after the Glazer family of Florida completed their assault on the club. The club recently had to secure refinancing of the $810 million of debt assumed after the club was taken private.

Substitute the Glazer family with the names of LBO firms and Manchester United with the names of numerous corporations and you can see what could happen: "In the U.S. we've watched the LBO firms, calling themselves 'private equity,' burden companies. They take over businesses that in some cases employed tens of thousands of people, formed the heart of many communities and had been steady and reliable taxpayers. These are companies such as Readers Digest (bankrupt), Simmons Mattress (bankrupt), Mervyn Stores (bankrupt).

Read the whole story at The Telegraph »

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