Middle East group set to offer £1.5bn for Arsenal

Owner Kroenke to be tempted with £350m profit on his shares but is likely to stand firm

Arsenal will receive a takeover bid that could cost a Middle Eastern consortium up to £1.5 billion, according to reports last night. The aim is to buy out the American majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and then complete a full takeover at a cost more than double what the Glazer family paid for Manchester United eight years ago.

If Kroenke was offered £20,000 for each of his shares (he has two-thirds of them), he would make more than £800m and a profit of some £350m on his original investment. Smaller shareholders would find that price very attractive but it is thought highly unlikely that Kroenke, who has in the past resisted offers to sell his numerous US sports holdings, would be interested. The other key figure would be Alisher Usmanov, the billionaire Uzbek businessman who has built up 29 per cent of the company but is deeply frustrated that he has not been given a seat on the board.

It was immediately suggested in some quarters last night that Usmanov himself could be behind the bid, which would seem to make Kroenke even less likely to sell. Kroenke was labelled "Silent" Stan because of his low profile and infrequent appearances at matches. The Arsenal Supporters Trust say one of their aims for 2013 is "to seek further explanation from Stan Kroenke as to his vision for Arsenal and to encourage him to engage personally with Arsenal fans".

The consortium would reportedly pay off the club's £250m debt, incurred in building the Emirates stadium, and would hope to win over fans by promising a large war chest for new players – something Arsène Wenger claims he already has – as well as cutting Europe's highest ticket prices. Like Manchester City's Middle Eastern backers, they would need to comply with Uefa's new Financial Fair Play regulations, which aim to prevent rich owners simply pouring money into clubs.

Arsenal were unavailable for comment when the story broke late last night, although there is no reason why they would know anything about it.

Shares in the club have grown vastly in value in the 30 years since Wenger's former champion David Dein bought almost a fifth of them for under £300,000. Dein was ousted in 2007 for backing Kroenke before he was welcomed into the fold, since when Dein and other shareholders such as Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith made millions by selling – Dein to Usmanov and Lady Nina to Kroenke, which helped the American past the 50 per cent mark.

Usmanov, thought to be worth £11bn, refused to sell to him. Last year he wrote a five-page letter about the sale of Robin van Persie, asking: "Where are the safeguards to ensure this doesn't happen again and again?" More recently he claimed that Thierry Henry was urging him to buy the club outright.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits