Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer dies

Last updated 09:02 29/05/2014
Malcolm Glazer
Getty
RECLUSIVE: Malcolm Glazer enjoyed owning prominent sports teams, but preferred to live in the quiet of Palm Beach, Florida.

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Malcolm Glazer, the self-made billionaire who owned Manchester United and the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, died early today. He was 85.

The reclusive Palm Beach businessman had been in failing health since April 2006 when a pair of strokes left him with impaired speech and limited mobility in his right arm and leg.

Glazer raised his profile in 2005 with a US$1.47 billion (NZ$1.73b) takeover of Manchester United that was bitterly opposed by fans of one of the world's richest soccer clubs.

Before that, his unobtrusive management style helped transform the Bucs from a laughingstock into a model franchise that in 2003 won the Super Bowl 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders. 

Born August 25, 1928, in Rochester, New York, the son of a watch-parts salesman, Glazer began working for the family business when he was 8 and took over the operation as a teenager when his father died in 1943.

As president and CEO of First Allied Corp, the holding company for the family business interests, he invested in mobile-home parks, restaurants, food service equipment, marine protein, television stations, real estate, natural gas and oil production and other ventures.

In March 2010, Forbes ranked him as tied for the world's 400th richest person, estimating his net worth at US$2.4b (NZ$2.8b). The magazine's separate ranking of Americans put him and his family at 139th in fall 2008.

He purchased the Bucs for a then-NFL record US$192 million (NZ$226m) in 1995, taking over one of the worst-run and least successful franchises in professional sports. And while Glazer once said he probably overpaid by US$50m (NZ$59m), the value of the team has more than quadrupled since he assumed control.

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- AP

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