English Premiership

Kroenke seizes Arsenal control

2011-04-11 12:43
Stan Kroenke (File)

London - US sports tycoon Stan Kroenke has taken a controlling stake in Arsenal and has agreed terms to buy the remaining shares in the English Premier League club, both sides announced on Monday.

The deal values Arsenal at about £731 million, according to a statement issued to the London Stock Exchange.

If Kroenke gains complete control of the club, it will mean the top four English clubs are foreign-owned, reflecting the hugely lucrative status of the Premier League.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) has boosted its stake from 29.99% to 62.89%, and terms have also been agreed for KSE to buy up the remaining share capital at the cost of £11 750 a share.

"We are excited about the opportunity to increase our involvement with and commitment to Arsenal," Kroenke, 63, said in the statement.

"Arsenal is a fantastic club with a special history and tradition and a wonderful manager in Arsene Wenger. We intend to build on this rich heritage and take the club to new success."

Wenger also welcomed the deal, saying: "I have worked with Stan Kroenke at board meetings over the past couple of years and I believe he has the best interests of Arsenal at heart.

"He understands the club's heritage and traditions and our ambition to run the club in a way which protects our long-term future."

Last month Kroenke increased his stake in Arsenal to within 10 shares of the threshold that forces him to make a takeover bid, when he acquired seven more shares at a cost of £8 500 each.

Kroenke, who first bought a stake of almost 10% in Arsenal in April 2007, also owns US Major League Soccer franchise Colorado Rapids, the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.

Foreign owners have flocked to the Premier League since television deals with Sky Sports helped make it the world's most lucrative domestic football championship and increased its global appeal.

Its most recent television deal for British and international broadcast rights, running from 2010-2013, has been valued at around £3.2 billion.

The deal represented £1.8 billion for domestic rights and £1.4 for international rights.

And the 2010-2013 terms increased sharply despite the global recession, showing a sharp rise on the previous deal which was worth £2.7 billion.

Arsenal are second in the Premier League table, seven points behind leaders Manchester United, who are owned by US tycoon Malcolm Glazer.

Chelsea are owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and fourth-placed Manchester City were taken over by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour.

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