Kroenke to purchase control of Arsenal

Kroenke to purchase control of Arsenal

Published Apr. 10, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

American billionaire Stan Kroenke is reported tonight to be close to a full takeover of storied London club Arsenal. A source inside the club independently confirmed to FOX Soccer that a bid is underway.

Multiple outlets reported that Kroenke had reached an agreement to purchase club shares from two other shareholders, taking him across the legal threshold mandated under English law to trigger a full takeover bid. It is understood that Kroenke is to purchase the shares owned by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and Danny Fiszman, who own a combined 32 per cent of the club.

Kroenke - already the owner of Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, the National Basketball Association's Denver Nuggets and the National Football League's St. Louis Rams - would become the fifth American owner of a Premier League club, joining John Henry at Liverpool, the Glazer family at Manchester United, Ellis Short at Sunderland and Randy Lerner at Aston Villa.

Kroenke has been an Arsenal stakeholder since 2007, when he purchased a 9 per cent share from the television production company Granada. Since then, he has steadily increased his stake to 29.9 per cent, just shy of the 30 per cent threshold while maintaining majority control.

It could not be confirmed how many shares Kroenke was purchasing or at what price; however both Bracewell-Smith's and Fiszman shares alone are worth approximately $204.8 million, according to Arsenal’s latest financial statements.

Other shareholders include Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Peter Hill-Wood, Sir Chips Keswick and Glasgow Rangers F.C.

The reclusive American, nicknamed "Silent Stan," has varied holdings in real estate, broadcasting and sports ventures. He had been linked with a full takeover of the club before, and a name change of the Rapids franchise to "Colorado Arsenal" was once floated.

More on this story as it develops.