News ID: 219511
Published: 0239 GMT August 07, 2018

American Kroenke wins £1.78 billion battle to buy Arsenal

American Kroenke wins £1.78 billion battle to buy Arsenal
MATTHEW CHILDS/REUTERS

American billionaire Stan Kroenke struck a deal to take Arsenal private by buying out Russian rival and minority investor Alisher Usmanov in a move that values the English Premier League soccer club at around $2.3 billion (£1.78 billion).

The deal comes at a crucial time for the north London club as it embarks on life without long-time manager Arsene Wenger who stood down in April after 22 years in charge, Reuters reported.

It also brings an end to the standoff between the two tycoons, who had both battled for control, and enables Kroenke to squeeze out the independent shareholders who had used the annual meeting to lambast the board for not spending more on a team that last won the Premier League in 2004.

The bid will be part funded by a £557-million loan from Deutsche Bank.

Kroenke, a 67 percent shareholder in Arsenal who also owns the US Denver Nuggets basketball team and the Los Angeles Rams American Football team, said in a statement to the London stock exchange that a single owner would be able to pursue its strategy more quickly.

“We appreciate Mr. Usmanov’s dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents,” he said.

Usmanov, who is ranked by Forbes as Russia’s 10th richest man with a fortune of $12.5 billion, owns stakes in some of Russia’s biggest companies including phone operator Megafon, iron ore producer Metalloinvest MTALI.UL and Internet group Mail.ru, among other investments.

Kroenke is competing against the billionaire owners of other Premier League clubs such as Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich, Manchester United’s Glazer family and Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, who owns last season’s runaway winner, Manchester City.

While many Americans run clubs, or franchises, like a business, the richer owners of Chelsea and Manchester City have thrown hundreds of millions of pounds at their clubs to buy the world’s best players.

Founded by a group of workers at the Royal Arsenal armaments factory in Woolwich, the Arsenal team were League champions on 13 occasions, including three under Wenger, and FA Cup winners a record 13 times.

New manager Unai Emery, who joined from Paris St Germain, will be given a baptism of fire this weekend when Arsenal kick off their new season against Manchester City.

 

'Dreadful day’

 

Kroenke's proposed takeover of Arsenal has been labelled "a dreadful day for Arsenal Football Club" by a leading supporters group.

A statement from The Arsenal Supporters' Trust read, "Stan Kroenke taking the club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values, The Independent reported.

"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."

Last season the Gunners finished sixth in the Premier League, 37 points behind the champion Manchester City.

Unai Emery was appointed manager in May after the club said farewell to Wenger.

 

 

   
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