Japanese investment bank Nomura has confirmed that it was in talks to provide financial backing for Keith Harris, a businessman and fan of Manchester United who wants to prevent the football club’s takeover by Malcom Glazer.
United are facing a takeover with Glazer building up a 28.1 percent stake in the club, close to its biggest shareholder, Irish racehorse owners John Magnier and J.P. McManus, with 28.9 percent.
“Nomura confirms its Asset Finance Group is in discussions with Seymour Pierce Ltd, about providing finance to assist them and the supporters with a view to developing a strategy that will provide a long-term future for Manchester United that is in the best interests of the club,” Nomura said in a statement.
Harris, a former chairman of the English Football League, is chairman of British brokerage Seymour Pierce.
The Financial Times reported Harris wanted to build a stake in the 126-year old soccer club which would be held by supporters and as a means to ensure that United could never be taken over without their supporters’ consent.
According to the FT, Nomura had been working on a financing package with Harris for several weeks and has initially earmarked £200 m.
Glazer, the owner of the U.S. professional football team Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has steadily increased his stake in recent months. Last week, he attempted to buy the shares of Magnier and McManus at 300p a share, but the Irish duo declined his offer.