The chief executive of Manchester United has said a potential flotation of the business would be "beneficial to the club" in his first public comments on plans for an IPO.
The chief executive of Manchester United has said a potential flotation of the business would be
Speaking on a trip to Senegal with Unicef, David Gill (left) told The Sunday Telegraph that the listing is "a potential" and the Glazer family, which owns the football club, will be "determining what the markets are telling us"
Manchester United were named as the richest football team this summer, topping the Forbes list of sports teams with 1.65 Billion GBP valuation. This despite Abramovichs' murky millions which only saw Chelsea come 46th, while Bayern Munich (19th), AC Milan (34th) and Juventus (49th) also made appearances in the Forbes magazine annual Top 50 rich list.
United recently signed sponsorship deals with Aon and Nike worth around £380 million and have accumulated 333 million supporters across the globe.
Speaking on a trip to Senegal with Unicef, David Gill told The Sunday Telegraph that the listing "has potential" and the Glazer family, which owns the football club, will be "determining what the markets are telling us" amid rumours the IPO is on hold.
The Glazers are understood to be considering a flotation of a 25pc stake in the business worth up to $1bn (£643m) in Singapore.
Mr Gill would not confirm the proposed terms of the IPO or whether it would be launched by the end of 2011 with global stock markets in turmoil.
However, he said: "It is not officially on hold but the owners will be taking appropriate advice from the advisers and determining what the markets are telling us.
"But I don't think it's the level of the market, it is the sheer volatility. That's the challenge."
The United chief executive claims he is "not intimately involved in the process" and the IPO is a "decision for the owners".
He added: "I think the finances of the club are in robust health in terms of the bond interest against the EBITDA that we do have, so in that respect I am not concerned.
But it was an opportunity, and is a potential opportunity, to strengthen them even further. If the proceeds were by and large used to pay down the bond debt then that would take some of the interest costs out."
Mr Gill also played down the impact the IPO could have on the football club, despite the introduction of new shareholders from around the world who could press for dividend payments.
Interview by Graham Ruddick