Michael Edelson is a non-executive director of Manchester United F.C. He is an angel investor, venture capitalist and philanthropist who has been instrumental in creating numerous cash shell companies on both AIM and PLUS. As a result of these, he was nicknamed "The Shellmeister" by Richard Rivlin in an article in the Sunday Telegraph in 1996 and the nickname has stuck to this day.
Educated at Bury Grammar School, he was an amateur footballer playing for Oldham Athletic and Stoke City Reserves between 1960 and 1964 before joining the family business full-time in 1964. In the mid-1990s, he took a stake in Conrad Continental Limited, an ailing Manchester textile company that was listed on the London Stock Exchange. After the conversion of Conrad into a cash shell, Conrad successfully acquired Sheffield United F.C. via a reverse takeover and as a result a new route for companies to obtain a listing on a stock exchange had been created and Edelson's stock market career was launched.
In the late 1990s he was involved in a flurry of similar deals bringing to market larger companies such as Prestbury Group with Nigel Wray and Nick Leslau,The Pharmacy Restaurant in Notting Hill with Matthew Freud and Damien Hirst and most famously Knutsford where his co-investors were Julian Richer, Sir Archie Norman and again Wray and Leslau. Knutsford reached an amazing value of £1billion within a month of flotation and the Knutsford story is quoted in many business schools around the world.
As a result of all of the transactions, he was dubbed "The Shellmeister" by City journalist Richard Rivlin in the Sunday Telegraph and the nickname stuck. He has now floated over 20 companies since Prestbury some of which have performed spectacularly as a result of having brought in budding entrepreneurs such as Abby Hardoon of Magic Moments and later Host Europe and Nick Robertson of ASOS.com. ASOS.com now has over 2,000 employees and is the United Kingdom's largest independent online and fashion beauty retailer. He is currently Chairman of SysPro Group plc and on the Board of a number of smaller private companies and charitable trusts.