Thursday, May 12, 2005

You will beat the Oirish

Our longtime readers will be familiar with previous posts about the ownership of Manchester United Football club, with the largest shareholding in the publicly quoted company held by the two Premier Class Oirishmen John Magnier and JP McManus, with full ownership being sought by bored Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer. Last October, we wrote:

The two Oirishmen so far show no signs of having done a deal with Glazer, but they are busy with other investments which suggests they may be thinking of getting out of Man Utd.

Today, in news that will surely drive the John Bolton confirmation hearings out of the headlines, it emerges that indeed the Oirishmen have sold their 29.9% stake to Glazer, reportedly for 3 quid a share. Glazer now owns a majority of the shares and under UK rules now has the momentum to control 100 percent of them.

Besides real Man Utd fans, who will be concerned about the debt Glazer may take on, the biggest shock will be experienced by Oirish Man Utd fans like Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who may have believed that rich and nominally Irish suits would behave differently than any other kind of rich suit, keeping control of the club safely in Oirish hands. Our brilliant Oirish government couldn't get worked up enough to stop Tara getting paved over, but the new regime at Man Utd is a different class of crisis entirely.


UPDATE: Here's a previous post on the horsey aspects to the Magnier/Fianna Fail/Man Utd connection, and here's one with a little more on McManus, the tax exile. Magnier doesn't need to be a tax exile because his Fianna Fail friends have essentially set up a tax-free enclave in Tipperary for him.

But (2nd update), the European Commission now has its eyes on Magnier's tax-break. Can a move to Geneva to join his pal McManus be far behind? One little detail from this meeting:

The Ministers for Finance and Agriculture, Brian Cowen and Mary Coughlan, have held talks with the European Commission in Brussels amid signs that the lucrative Irish tax exemption for stud fees will have to be scrapped.

The two met with the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel, and Ireland's Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, who is in charge of the internal market.

the same Charlie McCreevy who as Minister for Finance was in charge of these same tax concessions. Just another day's conflict of interest at the European Commission.

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