Britain’s Manchester United, the world’s largest soccer club, is no longer planning to list its shares in Singapore, according to Reuters. Instead, it’s looking for an IPO in the U.S. — which could be tough to pull off. The main problem? The U.S. really doesn’t care about soccer.
It’s true that there are some hot publicly traded sports franchises — that is, for those that have loyal fan bases. Take a look at Madison Square Garden (NYSE:MSG). Over the past year, the stock price is up over 41%. Oh, and the P/E is a hefty 31.
Or consider the Green Bay Packers. In December, the team sold stock online — and the demand was heated. Keep in mind that it is owned by a nonprofit organization, so investors can’t even sell their shares!
As for Manchester United, it’s a storied soccer team, having won 19 championships. Yet the company had to take on substantial debt because of a leveraged buyout in 2005, something an IPO will help reduce.
What’s more, the current soccer team has been slipping. In 2011, it failed to win a trophy for the first time in six years.
Still, the real problem is that for most Americans, Manchester United, although a household name (which is saying something for a soccer team), still doesn’t mean much. Other sports like football, baseball and basketball get most of the attention.
Besides, the disastrous Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) IPO has likely put a stop to mega-deals for a while. In other words, don’t expect Manchester United to score an IPO goal.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook”, “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.