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Investors Yawn at Manchester United IPO

Ian Wyatt

The most famous club soccer team in the world went virtually unnoticed in its IPO last Friday.

Manchester United (NYSE: MANU), the English Premier League soccer team with a record 19 championships, did nothing in its public trading debut. MANU shares were flat last Friday despite pricing at $14, below its expected range of $16 to $20 a share.

The team’s IPO raised $232.4 million, making it one of the richest initial public offerings this year. The offering valued the franchise at about $2.3 billion.

Impressive as that number is for a company that just went public, it fell short of the $3.3 billion value Man U. was hoping to achieve at the high end of its initial range.

The lack of excitement for the Man. U. IPO on U.S. markets calls into question whether the club would have been better off sticking with its plan to list on the Singapore exchange late last year.

Fortunately for Manchester United investors, today is shaping up as a better day. Man. U. shares have climbed 3% in early trading today, though volume has plummeted from 6.5 million in its first hour of trading last Friday to just 4,000 as of noon eastern time today.

So today’s thinly traded move might not have much staying power.

The good news for IPO investors is that Manchester United was one of four companies to go public last week. After a month-long hiatus in the wake of Facebook’s (NASDAQ: FB) disastrous May 18 debut, IPOs have returned in full force.

Manchester United was the 17th company to go public on U.S. markets in the past month. That’s more IPOs than May and June combined.

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