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Manchester United cuts profit forecast after Champions League exit

Premier League - Manchester United v Luton Town

(Reuters) -Manchester United cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts on Wednesday, after the English Premier League club was knocked out of Europe's top tier Champions League tournament in the early stages this season.

The reduction will be a blow to British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who struck a long-awaited deal last month to buy a 25% stake in the club to try to revive its fortunes.

As part of that deal, Ratcliffe's INEOS group took over management of the club's soccer operations.

The club currently sits seventh in the Premier League table following a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.

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Broadcasting revenue for the first quarter of its financial year rose 12.3% to 39.3 million pounds ($49.9 million), thanks to its participation in the group stage of the Champions League.

But that revenue is expected to fall after the club's 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich last month ended its hopes in Europe this season, piling pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.

UEFA, Europe's soccer governing body, distributes a share of revenues to clubs competing in the lucrative tournament.

Manchester United reported a net loss of 25.8 million pounds for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with 26.5 million pounds a year earlier.

It now expects fiscal 2024 revenue of 635-665 million pounds, versus its previous forecast of 650-680 million pounds, and adjusted core profit of 125-150 million pounds, compared with 140-165 million pounds previously.

Operating expenses as well as costs related to players' salaries also rose in the quarter.

Under ten Hag, the club bolstered its squad in the summer transfer window, with new signings including Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta, Mason Mount from Chelsea and Andre Onana from Inter Milan.

It reported total revenue of 648.4 million pounds and adjusted core profit of 154.9 million pounds in fiscal 2023.

($1 = 0.7890 pounds)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru Editing by Savio D'Souza and Mark Potter)