Stan Kroenke makes share bid for full control of Arsenal
Fan group protests as American businessman looks to take complete control of the Premier League club.
Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has made an offer to take full ownership of the club in a deal worth £1.8billion.
The American’s company, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, currently owns 67 per cent of the Gunners and has offered to purchase the 30 per cent held by Alisher Usmanov’s Red and White Securities firm.
KSE says it has received an “irrevocable undertaking” from Red and White Securities to accept the offer as soon as possible, and in any event by 3pm on Tuesday, with each share valued at £29,419.64.
The move has been met with derision from Arsenal supporters, many questioning the timing of the offer – just three days before the start of the new Premier League season.
In a statement published on the London Stock Exchange, Kroenke said: “We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100 per cent ownership of the club.
“We appreciate Mr Usmanov’s dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents.
“The successful implementation of the offer will result in the opening of a new chapter in the history of the club in bringing 100 per cent private ownership by KSE.
“KSE believes moving to private ownership will bring the benefits of a single owner better able to move quickly in furtherance of the club’s strategy and ambitions. KSE is a committed, long-term owner of the club.”
But the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has voice several concerns over the potential takeover in a strongly-worded statement of their own.
“This news marks a dreadful day for Arsenal Football Club,” it read.
“Stan Kroenke taking the club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values.
“The most dreadful part of this announcement is the news that Kroenke plans to forcibly purchase the shares held by Arsenal fans.
“Many of these fans are AST members and hold their shares not for value but as custodians who care for the future of the club. Kroenke’s actions will neuter their voice and involvement.
“The AST is wholly against this takeover. Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person.”
In October last year KSE offered around £525million to buy the 18,695 shares held by Usmanov, the Russian businessman who himself attempted to buy-out Kroenke in May 2017.
The Gunners last won the Premier League title in 2004 and last season finished sixth, 37 points behind champions Manchester City, who they face in their opening game of the season on Sunday.
Unai Emery was appointed manager in May after the club said farewell to Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge.