Friday, 17 August, 2018

Kroenke makes £1.8bn offer to buy Arsenal

Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke
Andrew Wong | 11 August, 2018, 07:43

"I have made a decision to sell my shares in Arsenal Football Club which could be the best football club in the world", said Usmanov.

Having built up a portfolio of sporting investment in his native US, Kroenke ventured into Premier League football when he purchased a minor stake in the club in 2007.

In October previous year, KSE offered around £525mn (B22.580bn) to buy the 18,695 shares held by Usmanov, the Russian businessman who himself attempted to buy out Kroenke in May 2017.

Majority owner Kroenke, who owns 67 per cent, made a cash offer to take full ownership of the club, valuing Arsenal at around £1.8bn after securing the backing of minority owner Alisher Usmanov (30 per cent).

That paves the way for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) to take full control, buying out all remaining shareholders and taking the club private.

Kroenke is unpopular with some fans
Kroenke is unpopular with some fans

The Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) issued a strongly-worded statement claiming the news "marks a awful day" for the club and #KroenkeOut was trending on Twitter in the United Kingdom by the middle of the morning.

The Supporters Trust described Kroenke's buy-out as "a terrible day for Arsenal FC" and now Corbyn has voiced his disapproval.

The buy out will see the Premier League club being valued at around $2.3 billion.

'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.

He was critical of Kroenke's passive ownership style, a sentiment 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.

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Kroenke and Usmanov have been battling for supremacy at the Emirates for years and the Russian billionaire could not resist a parting dig as he finally admitted defeat.

"The financial viability of the deal must also be carefully examined, especially if the club will be purchased via a loan".

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".

"The AST is wholly against this takeover which marks a very sad day for Arsenal football club".

Kroenke will be raising the capital to take control of the club with £45m of his own money and borrowing £557m, which he says will not be against the club.

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He also discussed the criticism aimed at Arsenal Fan TV by Arsenal right back Hector Bellerin last season in regards to the Catalan footballer's view that their presence has been far from helpful for the club.

The deal comes at a crucial time for the club, which embarks on life without long-time manager Arsene Wenger, who stepped down in April after 22 years in charge.

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.

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