Shares of the English soccer team, which were offered to the public last August at $14, did poorly at first but have soared the past few days. Closing at just under $17, Manchester United’s stock has outperformed the S&P 500 since its IPO and made the controlling Glazer family and legendary investor George Soros, who bought a big stake in the team shortly after it went public, wealthier.
The recent increase in its stock price has pushed up Manchester Untied’s enterprise value (equity plus debt) to $ $3.3 billion, the highest value of any team in the world. The second most valuable sports team in the world are the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, worth $2.1 billion.
Despite a drop in first quarter earnings because of a reduction in television revenue, the appetite for shares of the 19-time English champion has increased due to better earnings, new sponsorship deals with Japan‘s Kansai, and China Construction Bank, and the potential of much more lucrative English Premiership (Manchester United currently is in first place) and Champions League payouts this year.
Publicly traded sports teams have traditionally been bad investments. But thus far the Red Devils are bucking history.