Alisher Usmanov has accepted Stan Kroenke’s offer of +/- $700 million (at $2.3 billion valuation) for his 30% stake in Arsenal, effectively giving Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) full ownership of the Premier League club. Upon closing, Kroenke who already controlled 67% of the franchise will surpass a key threshold under UK takeover law; anyone owning more than 90% of a company’s shares can force the remaining shareholders to sell their stake. Kroenke intends on purchasing the remaining 3% of the franchise from Arsenal Holdings shareholders at a price of +/-$38,000 per share. It must be noted that KSE’s acquisition is being funded by a loan, a fact that has Arsenal Holdings shareholders particularly upset.
Howie Long-Short: Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST), the club’s largest fan group, claims that by Kroenke taking AFC private AST fans are being forced to give up their role as “custodians who care for the future of the club.” Sure, they’ll lose their access to annual general meetings and there will be a delay in financial reporting, but to suggest their participation is crucial to the club’s success is laughable; even Usmanov, who controlled 30%, hasn’t had any voting power or influence since Kroenke took majority ownership back in ’11.
Forgive me if I’m underestimating the impact of this deal. As an American sports fan, I’m used to blindly rooting for my favorite teams without ever having the opportunity to hold them accountable.
Fan Marino: Kroenke’s decision to take the club private is unlikely to make much of an impact on the pitch, but Arsenal fans are going to notice plenty of changes when their Premier League season gets started this weekend (Sunday against Man City). Unai Emery has replaced Arsene Wenger following a 22-year run as the club’s manager.
Arsenal becomes the 5th professional sports franchise under the KSE (Kroenke Sports & Entertainment) umbrella. They also own the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids (MLS).
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