Marshall-Backed Man. U. Bid Put On Hold

Mar 30 2010 | 11:10am ET

Fans of Britain’s most famous soccer team will have to wait to find out if a hedge fund-led effort to buy the team will even happen, let alone be successful.

The so-called “Red Knights,” a group of top London financiers including Marshall Wace Asset Management founder Paul Marshall, will not make their bid for Manchester United Football Club until the end of the current season. The team plays its final English Premier League match on May 9.

The Red Knights are thought to be seeking US$1.5 billion to buy the team from the American Glazer family, which bought Man. U. in 2005. But the Glazers, who also own the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have piled more than US$1 billion in debt on the team, earning the ire of Man. U. supporters.

“In the next few weeks we will continue to work on our proposal,” the potential buyers said in a statement. “We do not expect this to be finalized before the end of the current football season. This will have the advantage of minimizing external distractions as the team enters the decisive period of the season.”

Man. U. is currently atop the Premier League table in its bid for a 19th league championship. The team also faces a crucial match in the European Champions League today against Bayern Munich.

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