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Football: American is staking his claim.

Byline: DAVID McDONNELL

AMERICAN business tycoon Malcolm Glazer yesterday took a step closer to his aim of owning Manchester United when he upped his stake in the Premiership champions.

Billionaire Glazer, owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, took his stake in United to almost 15 per cent and his financial investment in the club to around pounds 70million.

Glazer is understood to want to seize overall control of United and his latest increasing of his share has fuelled speculation of a takeover in the very near future.

Glazer certainly has the resources to launch a takeover, having recently been listed as the 244th richest man in USA, with a personal fortune estimated at around pounds 1billion.

But a full-blown takeover of United is unlikely to succeed until major shareholders John Magnier and JP McManus, who own 23.1 per cent of the club, decide to sell their stake.

Glazer's latest stake was gained from a variety of shareholders, who felt the time was right to sell with their shares at an unusually high price of around 2.49p.

The six per cent stake, worth around pounds 30million, was brokered by Mehmet Dalman, the London head of Germany's Commerzbank, who was acting on behalf of Glazer.

United have played down talk of a takeover but City experts believe the move is evidence that the threat of a takeover is a very real one.

CAPTION(S):

MAGNIER: Major United shareholder
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2003
Words:238
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