- Associated Press - Monday, April 11, 2011

LONDON (AP) - American businessman Stan Kroenke has agreed to a full takeover of Arsenal that values the Premier League club at $1.2 billion and should end the long-running uncertainty about its ownership.

Kroenke agreed to increase his holding from 29.9 percent to 62.89 percent by acquiring shares from fellow directors Danny Fiszman and Nina Bracewell-Smith, Arsenal Holdings said Monday in a statement to London’s Plus Market.

After taking his stake over the 30 percent threshold, Kroenke needs to make a mandatory cash offer for the remaining shares in Arsenal.

“We are excited about the opportunity to increase our involvement with and commitment to Arsenal,” Kroenke said in a statement. “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.”

Four other Premier League clubs are owned by Americans _ Malcolm Glazer at Manchester United, John Henry at Liverpool, Randy Lerner at Aston Villa and Ellis Short at Sunderland _ while Chelsea, Manchester City, Fulham, Blackburn and Birmingham are also owned by foreigners.

Kroenke has pledged to “support and adhere to the self-sustaining business model” at Arsenal, which has a tradition of being well-run, avoiding big transfer fees and relying on talent developed through its youth teams.

“The offer will not be funded by way of any debt finance (banks loans, payment in kind loans or other debt or quasi-debt interest bearing obligations) for which the payment of interest on, repayment of or security for any liability (contingent or otherwise) will depend on the business of Arsenal,” the statement said.

Kroenke has been steadily increasing his holding in Arsenal since first buying a 9.99 percent stake in April 2007.

“I have worked with Stan Kroenke at board meetings over the past couple of years and I believe he has the best interests of Arsenal at heart,” Wenger said. “He understands the club’s heritage and traditions and our ambition to run the club in a way which protects our long-term future.”

Wenger’s team is seven points behind Manchester United in the Premier League title race with seven matches remaining, including one in hand over the leaders.

Kroenke also owns the Denver Nuggets in the NBA, the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.

He was invited onto the board of directors, unlike Alisher Usmanov, a Russian who owns more than 27 percent of the club through investment vehicle Red and White Holdings.

Little is known about the 63-year-old Kroenke’s plans for Arsenal. Known as “Silent Stan,” he has previously declined to speak at the club’s annual general meeting.

“He’s a strong, silent type, and I think that’s not necessarily the worst thing when it comes to sports team owners,” MLS commissioner Don Garber, who has talked to Kroenke about his plans for Arsenal, has told The Associated Press. “He’s very loyal. He’s a very quiet and a strategic thinker. He doesn’t make rash decisions.”

But Kroenke will come under pressure from fans to invest in a team that has not won a major title since the 2005 FA Cup and last captured the Premier League crown in 2004.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide