Gunners fans want assurances

BY foxsports • May 25, 2011

Kroenke Sports Enterprises, which has gradually built its stake in the Gunners since first buying 9.9% of shares in 2007, took a controlling interest in Arsenal's parent holding company last month after reaching agreements for the stock of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and the late Danny Fiszman, which under City rules, obliged them to make a formal offer for the remaining capital at £11,750 a share, valuing the club at some £750million. However, Uzbek oil magnate Usmanov - second in the recent Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated worth of some £12.4billion, more than Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich - has no intentions of selling his 27% stock through Red & White Holdings and indeed has been buying up any other Arsenal shares still available at a higher price than the KSE offer, around £14,000. The AST had already urged all minority shareholders not to cash in, with fans - who next season face a 6.5% hike in ticket prices at Emirates Stadium - determined to keep the Gunners outside private ownership. With the formal deadline for KSE's offer set to complete on May 27, the supporters group is hopeful some public statement on KSE's future plans for the club will be made, while Red & White Holdings are understood to be ready to set out their intentions in a letter to all minority shareholders this week. AST spokesman Tim Payton said: "Rather than just make a cash offer for the shares, Arsenal supporters want to know what their ownership would offer for the future of the club. "Supporter shareholders are less motivated by money and more focused on the club's values and plans for future success. "On Monday, there was a vote taken of all members of Arsenal Fanshare, and 95.3% were against accepting the Kroenke offer. "We still advise small shareholders to hold their shares because it is about joint custodianship of the club." While Kroenke - who holds a controlling interest at just under 64% - was invited onto the Arsenal board since September 2008, no such offer has yet been forthcoming to Usmanov, who two years ago saw his proposals for a new rights issue to raise funds for player transfers rejected. It remains to be seen just how the power battle will play out over the summer when Gunners boss Arsene Wenger intends to be active in the transfer market following another barren campaign.

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