American billionaire Kroenke nears takeover of Arsenal

American billionaire Kroenke nears takeover of Arsenal
# 12 April 2011 01:19 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. American businessman Stan Kroenke neared a takeover of English Premier League Arsenal on Monday after terms were agreed on a purchase which valued the club at $1.2 billion, APA reports quoting CNN.
Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) has agreed to purchase a 32% share from major shareholders Danny Fiszman (16.1%) and Nina Bracewell-Smith (15.9%) to add to the 29.9% they already own.
The move, which is now only subject to due diligence, means KSE has also been forced under British law to make an offer for all outstanding shares.
An offer of $19,300 per share has been made to all remaining shareholders, who will have 28 days to decide whether or not to sell.
If KSE -- who started their acquisition by buying a 9.9% stake of the team in 2007 -- obtain 90% of the North London side, they will automatically be required to purchase the remaining 10%.
Kroenke -- who also owns NBA franchise the Denver Nuggets, NHL outfit the Colorado Avalanche and Major League Soccer team the Colorado Rapids -- told the club’s official website: "We are excited about the opportunity to increase our involvement with and commitment to Arsenal.
We are excited about the opportunity to increase our involvement with and commitment to Arsenal.

"Arsenal is a fantastic club with a special history and tradition and a wonderful manager in Arsene Wenger. We intend to build on this rich heritage and take the club to new success," he added.
Chairman Peter Hill-Wood, who will remain in the role despite the impending takeover, backed Kroenke to take Arsenal forward.
"The board of directors and I consider it a key responsibility to protect the ethos and spirit of the club," Hill-Wood, whose father and grandfather were also chairmen at Arsenal, said.
"Mr Kroenke, although relatively new to Arsenal, has shown himself to be a man who values and respects the history and traditions of this very special club that we cherish. We are confident that he will be a safe custodian of its future."
Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov has been involved with the club since 2007 and owns a 27% stake in Arsenal’s parent company.
Uzmanov, who does not have a seat on the board of directors, has given no indication as to whether he will accept KSE’s offer.
Manager Arsene Wenger -- who is contracted to the club until 2014 -- also gave his support to Kroenke.
"I have worked with Stan Kroenke at board meetings over the past couple of years and I believe that he has the best interests of Arsenal at heart.
"He understands the club’s heritage and traditions and our ambition to run the club in a way which protects our long term future."
Arsenal are the third most successful club in English top-flight history, but the Gunners are without a trophy since their FA Cup final success against Manchester United in 2005.
Kroenke’s potential purchase of the team currently second in the EPL table will take the number of foreign-owned clubs in the 20-team league to 10.
American’s Randy Lerner and Ellis Short own Aston Villa and Sunderland respectively, with U.S. group Fenway Sports in possession of Liverpool and the Glazer family at the helm of Manchester United.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea in 2003, while Sheikh Mansour of the United Arab Emirates is the owner Manchester City.
Indian group Venky’s control Blackburn Rovers, Egyptian Mohamed Al Fayed is owner of Fulham and Carson Yeung of China is in possession of Birmingham City.
Many have criticized the lavish spending and creation of business models that are difficult to maintain by some of these owners, but KSE stated their intention to avoid such pitfalls.
"It is KSE’s intention that the business will continue to be run along existing self-sustaining lines."
The club have also confirmed no debt will be leveraged against Arsenal in order for the takeover to be completed, unlike previous buy-outs of Liverpool and Manchester United.
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