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Question of the Day
While not as expansive as the fan-ownership model at Barcelona, supporters can make small contributions to the “fanshares” initiative before gaining an actual portion of Arsenal.
One “fanshare” is priced at $150 or one hundredth of the value of Arsenal shares, which are currently worth about $15,000. The Arsenal Supporters' Trust, which already owns about 3 percent of the club, is running the initiative.
The plan will be promoted in advertising around the Emirates Stadium at the first home game of the season on Saturday against Blackpool.
Kroenke, who owns the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, has a 29.9 percent holding, while Usmanov owns 26 percent through his investment vehicle Red and White Holdings. Kroenke has a place on the Arsenal board, unlike Usmanov.
“Arsenal for 70 to 80 years has been the model of how a club should be run, investing in youth and not spending more than it can afford,” AST board member Tim Payton told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “Now at a time (where at) other clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool the relationship doesn’t exist with the supporters, Arsenal is setting the lead for others to follow. As important is the symbolism of getting more people owning a part share of the club.”
Buyers will be entered into a ballot for a seat at the club’s annual general meetings, but anyone purchasing 100 fanshares will have their membership status converted to receive full voting rights.
Once the first influx of money arrives, the supporters’ trust will acquire shares in Arsenal Holdings, which is listed on London’s Plus Market.
“We are confident that the market will supply us with shares and that their first choice will be to sell to us as supporters,” Payton said. “There are always a few small shareholders who need to realize some capital.”
The other main shareholders are Danny Fiszman, who owns 16.1 percent, and Nina Bracewell-Smith, who is already looking for a buyer for her 15.9 percent stake.
“If the scheme is a success we may look to approach Lady Nina or other major shareholders to purchase a small number of shares from them, so they can also demonstrate their support,” Payton said. “We would also talk to the club to see if we need an issue of new shares.
“We believe in plurality of ownership and having as many supporters as possible involved.”
If either Kroenke or Usmanov take their stakes beyond 30 percent, an offer would have to be made for the remaining shares. If an investor buys more than 50 percent of the shares, they gain legal control of the club. Anyone who reaches 90 percent can purchase the remaining shares.
The British government urged other clubs to follow the lead of fanshare.
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