CRISTIANO RONALDO and fans returning to Old Trafford has helped add £550MILLION to Manchester United’s value in just 54 days.
Champions League qualification, commerical deals and an upcoming season free from coronavirus restrictions were more significant factors in the increase.
But it is the Glazer family, rather than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, reaping the rewards as they cash in by selling swathes of shares.
United re-signed Ronaldo from Juventus on deadline day, although the deal was announced four days prior on August 27.
Two weeks earlier, Old Trafford’s stands were packed out for the first time in 18 months for the Premier League opener against Leeds.
And this has coincided with a significant spike in the share price of Manchester United PLC on the New York Stock Exchange.
On August 4, the share price was down at £11.70 with a market value for the club of £1.91bn but had risen to £12.72 and £2.08bn respectively by August 26.
However, 24 hours later after the bombshell news, the price bumped right up to £13.46, an increase of more than a whole dollar in the US, and the market value to £2.19bn.
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And since then, there has been an upward rise in the value of the shares to a peak of £15.09 by September 27 – or a £2.46bn market value, up £550m in 54 days.
From August 4 to September 27, the overall increase was 29 per cent, with 11 per cent in the last three weeks – boosted by the relatively positive financial reports the club released.
However, a football finance expert believes although Ronaldo and the supporters played some part, other reasons are more important.
He told SunSport: “Markets are always forward-thinking.
“Manchester United are in the Champions League this season and likely will be again next season.
“They have also signed more commercial deals in what is also hopefully a Covid-free season.
“Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing had relatively little impact. There was an emotional reaction.
“The shirt sales issues is vastly overplayed. United normally sell around 3m shirts per year.
“If you were going to buy a ‘Ronaldo 7’ shirt, it means you’re not buying a Manchester United shirt with Fernandes or Rashford on the back.
“There is a lot of substitution. Will they have sold a few more? Yes.”
However, the club’s shares have already taken an 11.8 per cent nosedive after Edward and Kevin Glazer put 9.5m shares up for sale on Tuesday which would take the Glazer’s family ownership down to 69 per cent of the club.
It means all of that additional value added over the last month has been completely wiped out by the Glazers flooding the market with shares.
At the close of business on the NYSE yesterday, the shares were worth $19.62 (£14.44) taking the market value of Manchester United to $3.2bn (£2.36bn).
But that dropped to $17.37 (£12.79) per share overnight and therefore a total value of $2.8bn (£2.08bn), the exact same figure the day before the Ronaldo transfer was revealed, and is only set to tumble further.
These shares are likely to be picked up by private investors and hedge funds, with the likes of Lindsell Train possibly targeting more.
Crucially, the shares being sold are 9.5m of the 43m ‘A’ shares, which hold very little power compared to the 120m ‘B’ shares with ten votes.
The Glazers hold all 120m ‘B’ shares and therefore, even with this sale, still have 95 per cent of the voting power at Manchester United with 69 per cent of the shares.
United fans – whose anger escalated as a result of the European Super League plans – are still desperately hoping the Glazer family will sell up and pave the way for new owners to come in.
But the expert does not think that is necessarily the case, despite the recent movements, and the share sales are simply to get some quick cash.
He added: “They could feel on the back of the European Super League and Project Big Picture, both aimed at concentrating power and money into relatively few clubs, there’s not a lot of further growth in the Manchester United share price so it’s an appropriate time to get out.
“They may have another investment project lined up and need cash, maybe with their NFL franchise.
“They want to generate cash in the short term.
“I don’t think the Glazers ready to sell. Avram Glazer sold some shares in March and made £70m.
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“I think this is just part of broad planning, getting rid of their ‘A’ shares which only carry one vote each, which were always there to turn into cash at a future point.
“They have kept all their ‘B’ shares which carry ten votes.
“This allows them to keep an iron grip on the company. There is no indication these ‘B’ shares are up for grabs.”