The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has long lamented the possibility of a full takeover of Arsenal by majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.
Now that the much-feared scenario is about to play out – it was today confirmed that the American has offered £550 million to buy Alisher Usmanov’s 30% stake – the organisation has been unsurprisingly withering in its response.
As they are clear to point out, one of the worst aspects of this deal is the fact that all Arsenal shareholders – no matter how small their holding and how long they’ve had it in their possession – will be forced to sell to Kroenke.
Plurality of ownership is dead.
This news marks a dreadful day for Arsenal Football Club.
Stan Kroenke taking the Club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values.
By taking the Club private Stan Kroenke will be able to implement the following detrimental actions:
- Pay management fees and dividends without any check or balance
- No Annual General Meeting to hold the Board to account
- Remove the Independent Directors
- Place debt onto Arsenal to support his other business interests
The AST is also extremely concerned to note that this purchase is being funded by a loan.
The most dreadful part of this announcement is the news that Kroenke plans to forcibly purchase the shares held by Arsenal fans. Many of these fans are AST members and hold their shares not for value but as custodians who care for the future of the club. Kroenke’s actions will neuter their voice and involvement. It is in effect legalised theft to remove shareholder scrutiny on how Arsenal is managed.
The AST is wholly against this takeover. Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person.