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Arsenal’s Kroenke makes offer to take full ownership of club



Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke on Tuesday announced an offer to take full ownership of the Premier League club in a deal worth £ 1 . 8 billion ( $ 2 . 3 billion ) .
The American sports mogul , who already owns 67 percent of the club through his company Kroenke Sports and Entertainment , has reached a deal with Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov for the sale of his 30 percent stake , according to a statement to the London Stock Exchange .

“ KSE believes moving to private ownership will bring the benefits of a single owner better able to move quickly in furtherance of the club ’ s strategy and ambitions , ” it said .

“ KSE is a committed, long -term owner of the club ” .

But the Arsenal Supporters ’ Trust said it was a “ dreadful ” day for the club , adding it was too important to be owned by one person .

Kroenke , owner of the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL , has been a part -owner of Arsenal since 2007 , gradually increasing his stake in the club .

Uzbekistan – born Usmanov, who made his fortune in the steel industry , has reportedly made previous unsuccessful bids to take control 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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Under takeover rules, if Usmanov accepts the offer it would trigger the sale of the remaining minority shareholders ’ shares — many have preserved a small holding for decades — and place the club under the private control of Kroenke .

“ We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100 percent ownership of the club , ” Kroenke said in the LSE statement.

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

Further details of the all – cash offer will be published by KSE later on Tuesday , it said .

But the Arsenal Supporters ’ Trust set out its opposition to the proposed move.

“ Stan Kroenke taking the club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values , ” it said in a statement.

“ The AST is also extremely concerned to note that this purchase is being funded by a loan , ” it added .

“ 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 . ”

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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 .

The former Paris Saint-Germain manager replaced long- serving boss Arsene Wenger in May .

( AFP )

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