Kroenke Arsenal takover: Q & A - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

Kroenke Arsenal takover: Q & A

American tycoon Stan Kroenke has moved a step closer to launching a formal takeover by taking his stake in the club's parent holding company to controls 29.9% - just short of the 29.99% mark beyond which he would be forced to make an offer for the remaining shares. Here, we take a look at what this all means for the future of the Gunners.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN SHOULD KROENKE CROSS THE 29.99% THRESHOLD?

Under the strict financial rules of the City, Kroenke would be obliged to make a formal offer for the remainder of the shares in Arsenal - and be expected to have enough funds available to do so.

Kroenke would have to make a bid at the highest price he has paid for stock during the past 12 months, which was £10,500 in May.

However, shareholders would not be forced to sell and so after the offer had been made, if Kroenke was not able to reach 50%, then he could not return to make another takeover offer for 12 months unless invited to do so by the company.

DOES KROENKE HAVE THE CASH, PROBABLY AROUND £400M, TO MAKE SUCH A MOVE?

It certainly would seem so.

The US business entrepreneur is listed in the Forbes 400 as one of the richest people in the world, his wealth is estimated to be about 3.5 billion US dollars (£2.1bn). His wife, Anne Walton, is from the family which owns the Wal-Mart shopping chain.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises have plenty of other sporting interests - including the Denver Nuggets basketball team and Major League Soccer outfit the Colorado Rapids, who already have a strategic relationship with the Gunners.

Reports in the United States suggest Kroenke is on the verge of selling his 40% stake in the St Louis Rams NFL franchise, which would bring a substantial return on his initial 200m US dollars (£120m) investment and free up more funds to plough into Arsenal.

WHAT DOES KROENKE PLAN TO DO?

The American is renowned for his tendency to stay out of the media spotlight - earning him the nickname 'Silent Stan'.

Indeed, when offered the chance to address shareholders directly at Arsenal's recent Annual General Meeting, he simply sat back and smiled, as chairman Peter Hill-Wood intervened.

However, that may be more to do with another of the complicated Takeover Panel rules, which dictate any public statements against future bid intentions must be unambiguous, otherwise the individual or group would be prevented from making a formal move for six months.

Kroenke is now a member of the Arsenal board, and it has been suggested his continued steady investment is designed to fend off possible aggressive moves by Russian Alisher Usmanov, whose Red & White Holdings have just over 25% of the club.

Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who left the board during December last year, could well hold the balance of power with her family's 15.9% stake. If that was sold to either Kroenke or Usmanov, it would push both well past the takeover threshold.

WOULD HAVING KROENKE AS THE CLUB'S OWNER BE SO BAD?

While the Gunners have long championed the importance of custodianship remaining in-house, there is no suggestion Kroenke would want to change things were he to eventually gain overall control at the Emirates Stadium.

Manager Arsene Wenger has made it clear he would not tolerate any interference on team affairs - although a few extra million to spend in the transfer market would no doubt be well received.

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