Arsenal fans slam Kroenke takeover

Stan Kroenke is seeking to take full control of Arsenal

Stan Kroenke is seeking to take full control of Arsenal

Kroenke now owns 67% of the club's shares and his offer is to buy the 30% of shares owned by minority stakeholder Alisher Usmanov.

Kroenke, who also owns the U.S. Denver Nuggets NBA team and the Los Angeles Rams NFL franchise, said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange (Arsenal shares are quoted on London's Nex Exchange) that he wanted to take Arsenal private to make it smoother to operate.

Kroenke, through his Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) company, first purchased Arsenal shares in 2007 and has steadily increased his stake since then, becoming a director a year later.

The American sports mogul already owns 67 percent of Arsenal.

"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", Kroenke's company said.

In the offer document, each of Arsenal's 62,217 shares are valued at at £29,419.64.

Uzbek-born Usmanov a year ago attempted to buy control of the Gunners by offering £1 billion (US$1.3 billion) for Kroenke's shares, but had his offer rejected.

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

To pay for the deal, Mr Kroenke will pay £45m in cash and take a £557m loan from Deutsche Bank.

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"We appreciate Usmanov's dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents".

While Kroenke has promised a "new chapter" in the history of Arsenal, the news of the takeover offer has not gone down well with the club's supporters.

Kroenke now holds just over 67 percent of shares, but buying up Usmanov's stake means he can force the remaining individual shareholders to sell their combined three-percent stake as well.

Majority shareholder Kroenke announced on Tuesday morning that he has launched a £600million takeover bid, valuing the club at £1.8billion.

The deal will also force the sale of the remaining 3% of shares which are now held by smaller companies or individuals, many of whom are Arsenal supporters.

The move has been greeted by a lot of negativity among Arsenal support with a lack of transparency among the concerns voiced as the Gunners prepare for the new league season. "It is in effect legalised theft to remove shareholder scrutiny on how Arsenal is managed".

"The AST is wholly against this takeover".

Americans have had a mixed fortune as Premier League owners, with the Glazer family rarely popular at Manchester United, even when the club won the league. "Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person".

Wright wrote: "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 but about the club, the community & the fans - all this new enthusiasm we are witnessing with Unai wouldn't feel like such a waste".

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