U.S. sports mogul Stanley Kroenke, the controlling shareholder in Arsenal Football Club, has agreed to buy Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's 30.5% stake in the club. Here's a brief look at the history of Kroenke's takeover battle and what the future might hold for the club.
In a world where clubs are owned by billionaires who do not always turn up to watch them play, the independent shareholders formed a rare bridge between the club's board and its fans. The BBC reports that buying Usmanov's shares would take KSE "past the 90% threshold" and can "compulsorily be able to purchase the remaining 1,779 shares, which are valued at £52.3m".
This is a common thread throughout Kroenke's ownership of sports teams in America too.
KSE says it has received an "irrevocable undertaking" from Red and White Securities, Usmanov's company, to accept the offer as soon as possible and by 3pm on Tuesday at the latest.
Arsenal finished sixth last season and will play in the Europe's second tier competition - the Europa League - during the 2018/2019 campaign.
Uzbekistan-born Usmanov, who made his fortune in the steel industry, has reportedly made previous unsuccessful bids to take control of the club.
Kroenke, 71, has a fortune valued at $8.3 billion by Forbes, and has a portfolio of assets that includes National Football League franchise the Los Angeles Rams, NBA club the Denver Nuggets, NHL team Colorado Avalanche, and MLS club Colorado Rapids.
The summer saw the arrival of new manager Unai Emery, bringing an end to the 22-year tenure of Arsene Wenger.
"We appreciate Usmanov's dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents".
"We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100% ownership of the club", Kroenke said in a statement through his company.
"The AST is also extremely concerned to note that this purchase is being funded by a loan", it added.
Coming at a crucial time for Arsenal as they start life without manager Arsene Wenger for the first time in 22 years, the deal cements the position of the USA sports boss among an elite band of super-rich soccer club owners in England.
The news spells an end to a decade-long power struggle in the Arsenal boardroom which culminated in Stan Kroenke's bid to buyout Alisher Usmanov's shares. "The AST is wholly against this takeover which marks a very sad day for Arsenal Football Club".
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