LONDON — Manchester United's global commercial strength has helped its American owners, the Glazer family, reduce the soccer club's debts and return to profit ahead of a planned initial public stock offering in Singapore, according to financial results released Thursday.
As United won a record 19th English Premier League title last season, its debt dropped by almost 20 percent, to $747 million, and revenue rose by $73 million to a record $540 million. The Glazer family, which also owns the Bucs and bought Man U in 2005, saw the club swing back to a profit of $48 million in the financial year ending June 30. The club lost $24 million the previous year.
Much of the revenue growth has come from the commercial department, which is capitalizing on United's appeal as one of the best supported and most valuable teams in the world. But half of the commercial revenue, which soared by 27 percent, to $168 million, goes to bank payments to meet interest costs of $83.4 million on debts that did not exist before the Glazers' takeover.
The latest set of financial results includes the first season of a jersey sponsorship deal with Chicago insurance broker Aon, which is worth about $130 million over four years. And next year's figures will include a four-year, $66 million practice jersey deal with express delivery and freight firm DHL.
The DHL announcement came a week after it was reported the Glazers had submitted an application for a partial $1 billion stock offering on the Singapore stock exchange. The Glazers have not confirmed the initial public offering, which would see them diluting their 100 percent ownership, the Associated Press reported.
The Glazers have not said how the club last year cleared about $358 million of high-interest debt used to fund their leveraged 2005 takeover.