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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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BlackRock firm buys stake in Man United

NEW YORK -- The New York-based investment firm BlackRock has taken an 8.21 percent 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. The club went public on the New York Stock Exchange last August.

The Glazer family, which took control of the team in 2005, maintains control through 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.

The family loaded the club with debt following its takeover, but United has paid down 62.6 million pounds ($99 million) of high-interest bonds.

The club's stock has risen about 35 percent in the past three months, closing Wednesday at $16.38.

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