Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke’s offer to take full ownership of the English soccer giants has been accepted by Alisher Usmanov.
The deal, which reportedly values the Premier League club at US$2.3 billion, sees US-based Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) purchase the 30 per cent stake held by Usmanov’s Red and White Securities firm.
Following reports on Teusday morning, Usmanov later released a short statement confirming that he is selling his stake.
Usmanov’s statement reads: “I have decided to sell my shares in Arsenal Football Club, which could be the best football club in the world.
“I wish great success to this wonderful football club and to everyone whose life and career are connected with it.”
A statement from Kroenke earlier in the day said that KSE, a company wholly owned by the 71-year-old American, has received an irrevocable undertaking from Red and White Securities to accept the offer for his 18,685 shares.
The US-based businessman currently owns 67 per cent of the club and in a statement published Tuesday via the London Stock Exchange, the company said the successful implementation of the offer would bring benefits of a single owner ‘better able to move quickly in furtherance of the club’s strategy and ambitions. KSE is a committed, long-term owner of the club.’
The statement added that under the offer, Arsenal shareholders will be entitled to receive UK£29,419.64 for each share.
According to the Telegraph, Usmanov will receive around US$700 million for his Arsenal shares ending a takeover battle that has lasted more than a decade. The writing has been on the wall for the Uzbek-born Russian since 2012 when Kroenke secured his majority holding after buying the shares of Danny Fiszman and Lady Bracewell-Smith.
That move marginalised Usmanov affording him no power, influence or involvement for his investment and left him hoping Kroenke would get bored and sell.
“We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100 per cent ownership of the club,” Kroenke was quoted as saying. “We appreciate Mr Usmanov’s dedication to Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents.”
Kroenke also owns various sports teams in the US, including the National Football League’s (NFL) Los Angeles Rams; the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Denver Nuggets; Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Colorado Rapids and the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Colorado Avalanche.
Stan’s son, Josh Kroenke, has been taking an increasingly hands-on role at Arsenal in recent months and that is now expected to continue.
Off-field change continues to rumble at the Emirates with the departure of chief executive Ivan Gazidis to AC Milan still a possibility. According to reports, Gazidis has had an offer from Milan that he is seriously considering.
On the field, former manager Arsene Wenger ended his 22-year reign at the end of last season and has been replaced by Unai Emery.