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Manchester United agrees buy-back option on TeamViewer shirt deal

(Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Manchester United and its main shirt sponsor TeamViewer have agreed a buy-back option on their five-year contract, which will be activated as soon as the club finds a replacement sponsor.

In statements issued by the club and the German software company, the two organisations said: “After a period of collaborative, private discussions over the past months, Manchester United and TeamViewer AG have reached a mutually-beneficial agreement under which Manchester United shall have the option to buy back the rights to the club’s shirt front sponsorship.”

United and TeamViewer went on to say that the club would commence a "focused sales process for a new long-term shirt front partner with the expectation for TeamViewer to transition out of this role as soon as practicably possible”.

Once a new shirt sponsor is selected and takes on this role, TeamViewer said it “will remain part of Manchester United’s partner ecosystem until the end of the original contract term, with an adapted scope of partnership”.

United said TeamViewer will “continue as a valued member of Manchester United’s suite of global partners, providing Manchester United with remote connectivity solutions, until the end of the original contract term in 2026".

TeamViewer went on to say that the new agreement would lead to a “substantial reduction of partnership volume to a single-digit million USD amount p.a., resulting in a significant positive impact on TeamViewer’s profitability”.

TeamViewer was thought to have committed to a deal worth £235m (€269.4m/$286.2m) over the five-year term, or £47m per year, and is likely to pay between £2.5m and £5m per year for a global partner deal.

“The adapted partnership would enable TeamViewer to continue its brand-building efforts, benefiting from Manchester United’s unique platform, while at the same time reflecting a changed macro-economic environment in its cost base,” the company said.

Having been agreed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the move will not come as a complete surprise to observers of the deal, who questioned why a business-to-business brand like TeamViewer would require such a premium visibility asset as the United shirtfront.

The German company has lost 80 per cent of its share value since the deal was announced in March 2021, with shares now trading at £10.55 compared to £31.65. Reports suggest that factors such the Ukraine war and the effects of the pandemic have impacted on its business.

A company statement from four months ago read: "The international awareness of the brand was clearly increased last year through the partnership [with United]. Nevertheless, the company has decided to review its long-term marketing strategy in light of the current macro-economic environment."

The club, which is currently seeking new owner/investment options, will now embark on a sale process that is likely to see a new brand installed on the shirtfront by next season.

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