Arab consortium 'eyes Arsenal'
Sun, 03 Mar 2013 09:43:00
An Arab consortium is considering making a ?1.5billion bid for Arsenal in the near future, according to reports.
The Sun on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph have both reported the interest, with funds for the bid said to be coming from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in the next few weeks.
American Stan Kroenke is the club's majority shareholder, while Uzbek Alisher Usmanov also holds a significant stake.
The offer for Arsenal would reportedly see the potential investors bid around ?20,000 per share, making Kroenke's holding alone worth ?830million.
Sources close to the Arsenal board insisted on Sunday morning that there had been no approach, informal or otherwise, to Kroenke, who remains "in it for the long term".
Kroenke pushed through his ?430million-plus takeover in April 2011, and now holds 66.83% of the club to give him overall control.
The Kroenke Sports Enterprise Group has a history of sustained involvement in all of his sporting interests in the United States, which include the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL, as well as Major League Soccer club the Colorado Rapids.
Uzbek oil magnate Alisher Usmanov remains Arsenal's second largest shareholder with a 29.96% holding, but does not currently have a seat on the board.
Reports suggest that, if successful in a potential takeover, the consortium - said to be backed by funds from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - would be ready to work with Usmanov's Red & White Holdings to help drive the Gunners back to the top of European football, vowing to slash ticket prices and stop the sale of star players such as former captains Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas.
Arsenal, who have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup, head to north-London rivals Tottenham this afternoon looking to boost their hopes of finishing in the top four, and securing Champions League qualification once again under manager Arsene Wenger - who has long championed the club's self-sustaining policy and the need for UEFA's new Financial Fair Play regulations.