US investment firm takes stake in Man United

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NEW YORK (AP) -- New York-based investment firm BlackRock has a stake in Manchester United.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, BlackRock Inc. said it acquired 3.3 million shares in Manchester United PLC. That gave it an 8 percent stake in the club's publicly traded stock.

The club went public on the New York Stock Exchange last August. The American family that owns the team, the Glazers, maintain control through a dual share structure.

The Glazer family loaded the club with debt after taking it over in 2005. But United has recently been paying it down, using money raised from the initial public stock offering to pay off 62.6 million pounds ($99 million) of high-interest bonds.

The Glazer family owns privately held Class B shares that carry 10 times the voting power of the stock sold to the public. There are 124 million Class B shares and 39 million Class A shares, according to the data provider FactSet.

United is one of the most renowned sports teams in the world and claims 659 million followers.

The club's stock has risen about 35 percent in the past three months.