Kroenke to spend £240m to seal Arsenal takeover

Wenger's job safe as American to take control

The American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke is expected to announce today that he has control of Arsenal with a £240m share buy-up that takes his stake to around 62 per cent – although the billionaire will not make sweeping changes to the club's structure.

The futures of manager Arsène Wenger, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and long-serving chairman Peter Hill-Wood are not expected to be affected in the short term at the very least. Kroenke, 63, who owns baseball, ice hockey and football franchises in Colorado and beyond has been a major investor at Arsenal since 2007 and has had a big say in the running of the club for some time.

Previously without a win in five games in all competitions, Arsenal yesterday beat Blackpool 3-1 at Bloomfield Road to stay within seven points of leaders Manchester United, who have played one game more. Wenger said that his team had "promised ourselves to give everything" to try to challenge United until the end of the season.

Kroenke will buy the 16 per cent stakes belonging to both Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. Fiszman, for so long the key figure in the Arsenal boardroom, is gravely ill, having had treatment for cancer. Bracewell-Smith has been looking to sell for some time and has chosen the Kroenke camp.

Kroenke will be obliged to make an offer for the entire Arsenal shareholding but he is unlikely to persuade Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek billionaire, to sell his 27 per cent stake. It is thought that Usmanov, who bought the former vice-chairman David Dein's shareholding, will hold out for the time being. Suggestions last night that Kroenke will bring back Dein, the man who introduced him and Usmanov to the club, were understood to be premature.

On Friday, Arsenal shares were trading at £11,550 valuing the club at £718.6m. Kroenke is thought to be paying around that price to Fiszman and Bracewell-Smith giving each of them a pay-out of around £120m. With Arsenal now controlled by a foreign investor it will leave Tottenham Hotspur as the last major English football club under English ownership.

Kroenke owns the NBA franchise the Denver Nuggets; the NFL's St Louis Rams and the Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer franchise. He married into the Walmart dynasty, one of the richest in America. His wife Ann Walton is a niece of the Walmart founder Sam Walton. Kroenke also owns National Hockey League franchise the Colorado Avalanche as well as a lacrosse franchise.

It was Dein who first made the connection with Kroenke, and the first stake in Arsenal that the American purchased was the 9.9 per cent owned by television company Granada. Since then he has acquired small holdings while hanging on for the big capture of Fiszman's and Bracewell-Smith's stakes. Usmanov made a big splash when he bought Dein's stake in August 2007 but it did not discourage Kroenke.

Nicknamed "Silent Stan" in American sport, Kroenke fits with Arsenal's old-school style of keeping their business private. On the few occasions that he has been interviewed, by the Denver Post newspaper, the city in which all but one of his franchises play, Kroenke has done so only on the condition that he communicates via email rather than in person.

Jens Lehmann, starting his first game for the side since May 2008, was lucky not to be dismissed for a foul on D J Campbell. Laurent Koscielny was also fortunate not to concede a penalty. "These things at this level make huge, huge, huge differences," said Blackpool manager Ian Holloway.





Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living