Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Shareholder Alisher Usmaonv says he accepts rival Stan Kroenke's bid for club

U.S. billionaire Kroenke seeks to buy all of Arsenal for £1.8bn Kroenke set to take full control of Arsenal FC in bid valuing club at £1.8bn
Rita Gibson | 07 August, 2018, 23:02

American billionaire Kroenke owns 67% of Arsenal through his company KSE and announced on Tuesday he had made an offer to buy up the rest of the shares.

Kroenke, who also owns the U.S. Denver Nuggets NBA team and the Los Angeles Rams NFL franchise, said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange (Arsenal shares are quoted on London's Nex Exchange) that he wanted to take Arsenal private to make it smoother to operate.

Despite his significant holding, Usmanov did not have a seat on Arsenal's board.

While Kroenke says taking sole ownership will benefit the club, the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) called the news "a terrible day" for the Gunners.

The move takes shares away from fans and Arsenal Supporters Trust published a telling statement on the matter.

Speculation also emerged in 2017 that Usmanov was looking to buy Kroenke's shares with the minority shareholder reportedly offering £22,000 per share.

U.S. businessman Stan Kroenke is set to acquire full control of English soccer team Arsenal following a bid that values the club at £1.8 billion.

Unlike Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, Kroenke has never injected his own cash to help fund transfers or other deals, something Usmanov had said he was willing to do.

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Arsenal have endured a hard period on the pitch in recent seasons, last winning the league in 2004 and failing to qualify for the lucrative Champions League for the past two seasons.

"Many of these fans are AST members and hold their share not for value but as custodians who care about the future of the club".

Kroenke, who also owns the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, now owns 67 percent of Arsenal. Arsène Wenger, who had managed the north London club for more the 20 years, departed earlier in 2018 and has been replaced by Unai Emery.

"Kroenke's actions will neuter their voice and involvement".

It should have little impact on the club's day-to-day business as Kroenke already owned 67 percent of the club and had the final say on all major pieces of business. "We appreciate Mr. Usmanov's dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents".

For Kroenke, it means he gets full ownership of the club. "KSE is a committed, long-term owner of the Club".

Usmanov's Red & White Holdings acquired an interest in the club in 2007, including the shares previously held by Arsenal's former vice-chairman David Dein. Kroenke and Usmanov have since been locked in stalemate. "The AST is wholly against this takeover which marks a very sad day for Arsenal Football Club". "Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person".

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