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Stan Kroenke makes offer to buy out Alisher Usmanov’s Arsenal shares

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The move will eventually make his company, KSE, 100% owners of the club and will take Arsenal private.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League
Kroenke’s company KSE is set to take full ownership of Arsenal.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

UPDATE 9.45AM: Kroenke’s offer was accepted, and Kroenke is now the sole owner of Arsenal Football Club. The few shares in other hands that Aaron mentions below will revert to Kroenke’s ownership thanks to England’s compulsory purchase rules which dictate an owner of more than 90% of a company can force small shareholders to sell their shares to the majority owner.

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, through his holding company Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, has made a £602m offer to buy out Alisher Usmanov’s shares in Arsenal Football Club. According to the London Stock Exchange regulatory statement, Usmanov’s holding company, Red and White Securities, has made an “irrevocable undertaking” to accept the offer.

The sale would take Kroenke’s ownership stake in the club to 97%, which would increase to 100% with the compulsory sale of the outstanding shares held by individual shareholders. The £29,419.64 per share purchase price offered by KSE values the club at £1.8b.

KSE believes moving to that [private] model will bring the 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.

KSE’s ambitions for the Club are to see it competing consistently to win The Premier League and The Champions League, as well as the major trophies in the women’s senior game and at youth level.

The purchase is being funded by a £557m loan from Deutsche Bank and £45m of private funds from Kroenke. To secure the loan, Kroenke paid Deutsche Bank a 10% (£5.57m) fee last week.

The Offer is not being funded by way of any debt finance (bank loans, payment in kind loans or other debt or quasi‑debt interest bearing obligations) for which the payment of interest on, repayment of, or security for any liability (contingent or otherwise) will depend on the business of Arsenal.

As a business listed on the LSE, Arsenal were in the somewhat unique position among top tier football clubs of having to hold an annual shareholders meeting to explain the business of the club and take questions from shareholders. The sale and subsequent privatization of the club would obviate that requirement.