Sky Talks Confirmed by United
MANCHESTER United today confirmed to the Stock Exchange they are in talks with Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB about a takeover - and announced plans to extend Old Trafford by 12,400 seats.
Murdoch's bid could herald a massive change to the game, as well as in TV coverage.
The club made a statement to the Stock Exchange this morning saying: "The board has noted press speculation and confirms that it is in discussions with the British Sky Broadcasting group which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company. A further announcement will be made in due course. Manchester United is being advised by HSBC investment bank."
HSBC is one of the biggest banking organisations in the world, and is the parent company of Midland Bank.
If Murdoch is given the opportunity to hand over a cheque, estimated at pounds 575million, to take a controlling interest at Old Trafford, the shockwaves would reverberate around the world's most popular team sport.
In a statement, the satellite TV company said: "The Board of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc has noted the recent press speculation, and confirms that it is in discussions which may or may not lead to an offer being made for Manchester United Plc."
United are due to make an announcement to the City tomorrow morning, when they are expected to outline the latest developments.
Murdoch's purchase would render discussions over future Premier League television contracts meaningless, and would almost certainly hasten the arrival of a European Super League and throw the national institution that is Manchester United into chaos.
Sports Minister Tony Banks said: "There are clear implications that make me feel that this can't be treated as if it were just a normal takeover of one publicly quoted company by another.
"We must look carefully at the way media companies are allowed to buy up football clubs. The commercial implications are fairly profound."
The extraordinary sum Murdoch appears willing to spend in order to acquire United is an indication of the limitless cash-cow the Old Trafford empire has become.
Fifteen years ago Edwards considered selling United to Robert Maxwell for pounds 10million, an act which brought derision from the Old Trafford terraces. …