Arsenal Supporters' Trust brands Kroenke takeover 'a awful day'

Tanya Simon
August 7, 2018

American billionaire Kroenke owns 67% of Arsenal through his company KSE and announced on Tuesday he had made an offer to buy up the rest of the shares.

Kroenke, who also owns the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, now owns 67 percent of Arsenal.

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

Yes, the 64-year-old Russian Federation has made a decision to give up his stake in Arsenal and sell his shares to Kroenke.

Kroenke, a 67-percent shareholder in Arsenal who also owns the U.S. Denver Nuggets basketball team and the Los Angeles Rams American Football team, said in a statement to the London stock exchange that a single owner would be able to pursue its strategy more quickly. "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 is wholly against this takeover which marks a very sad day for Arsenal football club", a fans' statement read. Those partially public forums are now likely to end as Arsenal prepares to become entirely privately owned like most of the rest of the Premier League.

Arsenal finished the 2017/18 season in sixth place behind the two Manchester clubs, fierce local rivals Tottenham Hostpur, Liverpool and Chelsea.

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"We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100% ownership of the club", said Kroenke.

Coming at a crucial time for Arsenal as they start life without manager Arsene Wenger for the first time in 22 years, the deal cements the position of the US sports boss among an elite band of super-rich soccer club owners in England.

Usmanov, despite being the second-largest shareholder, has not been given a seat on the club's board.

"KSE is a committed, long-term owner of the club", the statement said. The tycoon, who started out with a plastic bags business, also heads the International Fencing Federation. Whether Usmanov could be believed is another matter, but at least he conveyed ambition in a way Kroenke never has.

The Associated Press reports that Kroenke would be using a £557m loan from Deutsche Bank to fund the "complete buyout of Arsenal".

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

It has already been a time of change off the pitch for the club with former Paris Saint-Germain boss Unain Emery replacing Arsene Wenger in the summer after the Frenchman left at the end of last season after 22 years at the club.

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