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Stan Kroenke bids for Alisher Usmanov’s Arsenal shares

The American seeks to consolidate control of the club

Washington Redskins vs Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Stan Kroenke will seek to buy Alisher Usmanov’s shares in Arsenal, according to Arseblog News. Usmanov sought to buy out Kroenke as recently as May, but with the Uzbeki magnet showing more interest in other activities, such as the naming rights for Everton’s training ground, the roughly 30% of shares could be available.

UPDATE 10/3/2017: It’s official now - Kroenke has lodged a bid for Usmanov’s shares at £28,000/share, or nearly £525 million.

Functionally, that would change little in the immediate. Usmanov is not on the board, and will never be invited to be on the board, because of the animosity between Kroenke, the majority shareholder, and Usmanov. But what is concerning is what could happen after Kroenke has effectively 97% of shares: “he can force the remaining small shareholders to sell to him and de-list the shares .”

Furthermore, Kroenke having complete control could change the way Arsenal are run, as an Arsenal Supporters Trust spokesman said to Arseblog:

The real concern is that he would take the club private, in what’s called a squeeze out, by making a compulsory purchase of all shares.

That would mean Arsenal would become a private company, with no AGM, no detailed accounts like we have now, all of which would reduce accountability.

He would also have the option to register Arsenal in the United States, possibly Delaware where other KSE holdings are held.

Whether this would happen or not is up for debate. But with Kroenke having complete control of the club, there would even less inclination for him to sell shares, and even less accountability for an owner whose management of the football club equates to rearranging deck chairs while the iceberg is in sight. Given the way things were handled last season, it is not hard to see the football club entering that sort of mess again, and with an unseen, unheard from and unaccountable owner who still ultimately makes the final, executive decision, it is even less hard to see how the culture of mediocrity could become ingrained for a long time.