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Manchester United shareholders: Who owns the most MANU stock?

By Rob Griffin

Edited by Vanessa Kintu

11:56, 7 December 2022

The Old Trafford stadium on APRIL 13,2016 in Manchester, England. Old Trafford is home of Manchester United football club
Manchester United is one of the most successful football clubs in the world. Photo: Nook Thitipat / Shutterstock

Manchester United (MANU), one of the biggest names in football, could be sold as its owners are considering their options. The club’s board of directors has revealed it will “explore strategic alternatives” for the club, such as new investments, a sale or other transactions.

In a statement, it highlighted several initiatives to strengthen the club, including “stadium and infrastructure redevelopment” and expanding the club’s commercial operations.

Manchester United (MANU) live chart

But what could such moves mean for MANU stock and consequently Manchester United shareholders? Here we take a look at the company behind the club and consider the outlook for MANU shareholders.

What is Manchester United?

Manchester United is one of the most popular football clubs in the world. It has a global fanbase and its star players are household names. The club has won a record 13 Premier League titles, along with seven First Division championships, 12 FA Cups and five League Cups.

The club has been crowned UEFA Champions League (previously the European Cup) champion on three occasions – the ultimate club competition in European football – as well as various other titles. Manchester United’s famous Old Trafford ground has been graced by world renowned footballers such as George Best, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Who owns the football club?

Manchester United plc is the ultimate parent company of the football club. It’s incorporated in the Cayman Islands and has its corporate headquarters at Old Trafford, Manchester, the club’s ground.

Only the Glazer family hold 10% or more of the voting rights in Manchester United plc, according to the club.

The company went public on 10 August 2012, with the initial offering being priced at $14. It trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker MANU.

It’s also the largest quoted football club with a market capitalisation of $3.64bn, far ahead of Juventus (JUVE) in second place with $0.71bn.

Stock price performance

ANU 5-year historical performance

News that the Manchester United board is considering a sale, among other options, resulted in the stock price rising 72% from $13.03 in mid-November to $22.36 as the market closed on 5 December.

It also put a more positive spin on the year-to-date (YTD) performance for Manchester United shareholders with the MANU stock price up 52% on its $14.68 level at the start of 2022.

The company’s all-time high of $25.18 was achieved on 31 August 2018. Over five years it has achieved trailing returns of 2.78% – ahead of the 1.23% achieved by the entertainment industry, according to Morningstar.

In September, Manchester United reported a net loss of £115.5m ($140.5m) for the 12 months ended 30 June – despite revenue increasing by £89.1m. In a statement, CEO Richard Arnold reiterated the club’s core mission was to win football matches and entertain its fans:

“Ultimately, we know that the strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our fans, which is why we have made fan engagement a strategic priority.”

Manchester United shareholders: Who owns MANU shares?

Manchester United is 74.79% owned by retail investors and 25.21% by institutional shareholders, according to WallStreetZen. So, who owns the most shares of Manchester United? Here we look at the list of Manchester United shareholders and why it matters knowing who holds the stock.

Institutional v retail investors

MANU shareholders

Quoted companies are normally owned by different types of investors but it’s worth finding out who they are as it can influence the future direction of the business. There will usually be a mix of institutional shareholders, insiders and retail investors. This means some may hold a few shares, while others have stakes worth millions of pounds.

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You may be wondering, what does it matter whether you know who the shareholders of Manchester United are? Well, if a particular investor has a very significant holding this can provide them a say in how it’s run. It may even be enough for them to push for a seat on the board, which will give them a ringside seat into its daily operations, as well as a say in decisions taken at the highest level.

Investors owning larger percentages of the company’s stock can use their votes at annual meetings and become activist investors.

Top five biggest Manchester United shareholders

Ariel Investments

Ariel is the largest of the institutional shareholders of Manchester United with 11,424,939 shares at a value of $259.69m, according to WallStreetZen. This gives it a 6.93% stake. 

The Chicago-based investment company, which was founded in 1983, has $14.6bn of assets under management. Ariel, which operates traditional value, focused value and global approaches, is 94.9% owned by employees and board members.

Lindsell Train

The UK-based investment company was founded in 2000 by Michael Lindsell and Nick Train. Its stated aim is to “protect the real value” of its clients’ capital over the long term, while the focus is on finding companies with durable competitive advantages.

Lindsell Train holds 10,925,176 shares in Manchester United at a value of $248.33m. This gives it a stake of 6.63%.

Massachusetts Financial Services

Widely known as MFS, the US company has nearly a century of active management experience, having introduced the first mutual fund in 1924. The global investment manager’s stated aim is to create long-term value responsibly. It offers fixed income, equity and quantitative solutions to financial advisors.

MFS is listed as the third largest institutional investor in Manchester United. It has a 2.57% stake, courtesy of its 4,233,354 shares that are worth $96.22m.

Marathon Asset Management

The private, independently owned investment management firm is based in London. It was founded in 1986 and is known for applying longer term and often contrarian strategies. Its philosophy has two main parts: high returns in industries tend to attract capital and competition; and that management skill in allocating capital is vital over the long term.

According to WallStreetZen, Marathon holds 2,185,908 shares in Manchester United, valued at $46.69m. This gives it a 1.33% stake.

Senvest Management

The New York-based investment advisor was founded by Richard Mashaal in 1997 and employs a contrarian, value-based investment strategy. The business has approximately $3bn in assets under management and classifies its competitive strengths as an internal capital base that aligns with interests of shareholders.

Senvest is the fifth name on the list of Manchester United biggest shareholders. It has a 1.04% stake courtesy of 1,720,739 shares valued at $39.11m.

Final thoughts

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next six months – both in terms of the team’s performances on the football field and the decisions taken in the boardroom. 

The shareholders of Manchester United have seen the value of the stock rise in recent weeks but whether this is sustained will depend on what initiatives are introduced. It could also depend on the attitude of Manchester United major shareholders to the prospect of a sale –  and who takes over the reins.

Keep in mind that while it may be useful to know who owns the most shares of Manchester United, it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for your own research. Always conduct your own due diligence, looking at the latest stock news, a wide range of analyst commentary, technical and fundamental analysis.

Remember, past performance does not guarantee future returns. And never trade with money you cannot afford to lose.

FAQs

How many Manchester United shares are there?

There are 53 million shares outstanding in Manchester United, according to data compiled by Nasdaq.

How many shareholders does Manchester United have?

Manchester United PLC (MANU) has 132 institutional owners and shareholders that have filed 13D/G or 13F forms with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), according to data compiled by Fintel.

Who owns the Manchester United company?

Manchester United is 74.79% owned by retail investors and 25.21% by institutional shareholders, according to WallStreetZen.

Markets in this article

JUVE
Juventus FC
2.438 USD
-0.029 -1.190%
MANU
Manchester United
17.24 USD
0.36 +2.150%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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