updated 4/28/2005 12:55:07 PM ET 2005-04-28T16:55:07

Malcolm Glazer’s proposed takeover of Manchester United hit another snag Thursday when the club’s directors said they wouldn’t recommend his bid to shareholders.

The owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers also was given a May 17 deadline to submit a formal plan or withdraw his attempts to buy the world’s richest soccer club.

Glazer, who already owns about 28 percent of the club’s shares, has spent the last few weeks considering whether to formally make a $1.53 billion bid for United. His first two proposals were rejected by the board of directors, who said the package relied too heavily on borrowed money.

Though the new offer would rely less on borrowed money, the club said in a statement the plan has “more leverage than the board would consider prudent” and would cause “significant financial strain” on the club.

“Whilst recognizing that the price under Glazer’s proposal is fair, the board’s unanimous view is that they could not support Glazer’s proposal (were it to become a formal offer) as being in the best interests of the company,” the club said.

Financial analysts said Glazer is offering $5.65 per share. The biggest shareholders are Irish businessmen and racehorse owners John Magnier and J.P. McManus, who hold 28.9 percent of the shares through their investment company, Cubic Expression.

Meanwhile, Glazer was given the May deadline by the Takeover Panel, a regulatory body that monitors takeovers and mergers in Britain. If he doesn’t make a bid by then, he’s prohibited from making another offer for six months.

The board is required by law to act in the financial interests of stockholders, and could face a suit from Glazer if they block the bid.

There is strong opposition to a Glazer takeover from the fan-based group Shareholders United. Fans fear Glazer will raise ticket prices and sell 67,000-seat Old Trafford stadium.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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