Kroenke turns the tables and makes bid for Usmanov’s shares

Stan Kroenke

Stan Kroenke has made a bid to purchase Alisher Usmanov’s shareholding in Arsenal, an offer which is currently under consideration by the Russian business magnate.

Back in May the Financial Times reported that Alisher Usmanov had made a bid to purchase Stan Kroenke’s shareholding in Arsenal.

The billionaire, who currently holds a 30.04% stake, tabled a £1.3bn offer which the American rejected, reaffirming his desire to maintain his own 67% shareholding.

Now, Arseblog News understands that Kroenke has turned the tables, and approached Usmanov two weeks ago with a bid to purchase his shares, a move which would give him more than 97% of the shares in the club.

The two men are not friendly, but Usmanov knows he will never have a seat on the board or any influence at Arsenal while KSE remain in charge.

His former partner in Red & Holdings, Farhad Moshiri, purchased a 49.9% stake in Everton in 2016, and his USM Holdings company put pen to paper on a five year deal to sponsor the Merseyside club’s training ground.

As yet the 64 year old oligarch has not accepted the bid, and is holding out for improved terms. However, the temptation that he could sell and immediately reinvest into Everton, teaming up with Moshiri once again, is obvious.

In May we reported interest from a third party in purchasing the shareholdings of Kroenke which would have automatically led to a full bid. This consortium was privately backed but included people with a long history as Arsenal fans who were, and remain, concerned about the direction of the club under Kroenke’s stewardship.

Two bids were made, one as early as December last year, and one again in May following Usmanov’s bid. Both were far higher than Usmanov’s approach in May, but which were ignored by the American.

There was then consideration given to a purchase of the Umsanov’s shares but this would have been dependent on the consortium being given a seat on the board.

That idea was communicated in a friendly manner to Josh Kroenke, and Stan Kroenke’s legal representatives, but again given short shrift, meaning any purchaser of Usmanov’s shares would also find themselves shut out.

Perhaps fearing the 30% stake could be acquired by another party, the American has made his bid for Usmanov’s shares.

If Usmanov does sell, Kroenke would have total control over the club, and he can force the remaining small shareholders to sell to him and de-list the shares [source].

That would obviously be a very worrying development for Arsenal supporters who have seen the way KSE owned sports ‘franchises’ are operated in the USA, how they fail to achieve any real success and continue down a road of relentless mediocrity.

Arseblog News asked the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust what the implications might be should Usmanov decide to sell to Kroenke.

“The real concern is that he would take the club private,” said a spokesman, “in what’s called a squeeze out, by making a compulsory purchase of all shares.

“That would mean Arsenal would become a private company, with no AGM, no detailed accounts like we have now, all of which would reduce accountability.

“He would also have the option to register Arsenal in the United States, possibly Delaware where other KSE holdings are held.”

Although Kroenke has all the power now, him taking full control would be going down a road for this football club that would be very difficult to come back from.

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