London [United Kingdom], Aug 09: Arsenal’s majority shareholder and American billionaire Stan Kroenke’s bid to buyout second-largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov’s 30 per cent stake at the club in an all-cash multi-million deal was accepted by the latter on Tuesday.
The deal, which is reportedly around the £550 million mark, will give Kroenke, whose net worth stands at $8.1 billion and currently owns 67 per cent of the club’s shares, complete autonomy at Arsenal.
Usmanov’s stake at the London club, which is valued at £1.8 after the agreement of the deal, was the only thing between Kroenke and total authority at Arsenal as the two launched multiple attempts to buy out the other’s shares over the years.
Kroenke, who also owns American Football team Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Nuggets in the National Basketball Association (NBA), issued a statement saying, “We at KSE (Kroenke Sports & Entertainment) are moving forward with this offer leading to 100 per cent ownership of the club. We appreciate Usmanov’s dedication to the ArsenalFootball Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents.”
The completion of the deal will also mark the first time in Arsenal’s history that the ownership of the club will lie with one owner, something that has not gone down well with the fans of the club. It should be noted that the fans have been for years infuriated with the club’s board, especially Kroenke, for not pumping in the funds required to challenge at the highest level of English and European football.
Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST), who own three Arsenal shares, issued a statement on their official website, saying that Kroenke’s takeover, “marks a dreadful day,” pointing out to the American’s touted move to squeeze out the remaining shareholders and become the sole owner of the club, thus eliminating the need for the Annual General Meeting and releasing financial details.
They also alleged that Kroenke’s takeover at Arsenal will allow him to, “Place debt onto Arsenal to support his other business interests.”
“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,” the AST said.
“Kroenke’s actions will neuter their voice and involvement. It is in effect legalised theft to remove shareholder scrutiny on how Arsenal is managed. The AST is wholly against this takeover. Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person,” they added.
Also, Arsenal legend Ian Wright took to his Twitter handle to term the move as a “sad day” for the fans.
“Incredibly sad day for so many of our fan shareholders that that no longer own a part of this club. Imagine if this wasn’t only about money but about the club, the community & the fans – all this new enthusiasm we are witnessing with Unai wouldn’t feel like such a waste. #Arsenal,” the former striker tweeted.