Saturday, 22 September, 2018


U.S. sports mogul Kroenke makes offer to buy Arsenal

Noah Ferguson | 07 August, 2018, 17:41

With the club already preparing up for their first campaign without Arsene Wenger as manager in almost a quarter of a century, it's now emerged that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has made a £600m offer to buy the whole of the club in a deal that would value them at £1.8bn.

Kroenke now owns just over 67% of Arsenal FC and on Tuesday KSE, his Delaware-based holding company, announced an all-cash offer to buy all the shares in the club it doesn't already own.

Kroenke's company, KSE, added: "KSE UK is pleased to announce the terms of its all-cash offer to acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Arsenal Holdings PLC other than the Arsenal Shares already held by KSE".

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 US sports boss among an elite band of super-rich soccer club owners in England.

It would mean Kroenke has the automatic right to take total control over the London club by buying the remaining independent shares.

After news broke of the bid the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) called it a "dreadful day" for the football club.

Kroenke, who largely avoids the media spotlight, owns a string of U.S. sports clubs including the U.S. Denver Nuggets basketball team, the Los Angeles Rams American Football team and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.

AST added that by becoming the 100% owner, Kroenke would be able to take "detrimental actions" such as paying "management fees and dividends without any check or balance". "KSE is a committed, long-term owner of the club".

Kroenke's current share in the club is just over 67 per cent.

While some Arsenal fans will hope having one single owner will make key decisions easier, the majority will be concerned at the club effectively being run from the United States with less transparency.

What has led to Arsenal being owned exclusively by Stan Kroenke?

"We appreciate Mr Usmanov's dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the Club represents".

He was critical of Kroenke's passive ownership style, which has been increasingly echoed by Arsenal fans unhappy with what they see as the board´s willingness to settle for on-field mediocrity so long as commercial stability was maintained. The AST past year urged Usmanov not to sell his shares, and pointed out that single ownership of the club means Arsenal would no longer need to hold an Annual General Meeting. "It is in effect legalised theft to remove shareholder scrutiny on how Arsenal is managed". The AST is wholly against this takeover.

Arsenal, who finished sixth last season, launch their 2018-19 Premier League campaign at home to champions Manchester City on Sunday under new manager Unai Emery.

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