The value of Manchester United fell following a report the controversial Glazer family would remain owners of the club.
The company’s stock price fell 13% after ESPN said owners and co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer are confident they will secure investment to enable them to retain ownership of the club.
The source cited in the article said the pair favour new investment that would allow them to remain at the helm – but with siblings and fellow directors selling their holdings – and they expect the investment will enable them to double the value of the club.
Shares dropped to $18.91 each at one point on Monday morning in New York, the lowest since November. Manchester United is a public company with some shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Glazers have owned the club since 2005 and have been unpopular among many fans.
The “Love United, Hate Glazers” phrase has been used during the Americans’ tenure, as fans have been critical of what they see as a lack of investment in club infrastructure while shareholders have been paid millions of pounds in dividends as it remains a commercial success.
Earlier this month, United’s largest fans’ group, the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), called for the conclusion of the auction to buy the club “without further delay”.
The club won their first trophy in six years in February with a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final.
In November Sky News exclusively reported United were considering a sale to raise funds to invest in the team and in the overdue redevelopment of Old Trafford.
A number of bidders have been reported to be interested in buying the club, including the giant American financial investor Carlyle.
Two credible bidders in contention to takeover the club are Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani; and Ineos Sports, part of the petrochemicals group owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.