Uzbek businessman Alisher Usmanov is likely to finally relinquish his minority stake in the club.
In the recent turn of events, the majority stakeholder of the Premier League side Arsenal, Stan Kroenke, has bid to buy out the stake of the club’s second largest shareholder and Uzbek tycoon Alisher Usmanov to mount a full takeover at The Emirates. Kroenke ha offered to buy Usmanov’s 30% stake in a deal that values Arsenal at £1.8b.
As reported by The Telegraph, it is believed that Usmanov has decided to accept the terms. Kroenke Sports Entertainment, a company fully-owned by the American, has received an undertaking from Red and White Securities – the company owned by Usmanov – to accept the offer for his 18,685 shares.
Usmanov is entitled to receive £540m for his Arsenal shares. The move is the climax of the infamous Arsenal takeover battle between Kroenke and Usmanov that has lasted more than a decade, but which was effectively settled in 2012, when Kroenke secured a controlling stake at the club after buying the shares of former stakeholders Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.
Since then, Usmanov has always hoped for a similar coup against Kroenke, but the American’s interest and motivation to take Arsena forward have never faded.
Kroenke currently owns 67% of Arsenal, as well as various sports teams in the United States, including the Los Angeles Rams in American football, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Rapids and Avalanche in the respective MLS and national ice-hockey leagues.
Kroenke’’s son, Josh Kroenke, has been taking an increasingly hands-on role at Arsenal in recent months and that is now expected to continue.
In a statement published on the London Stock Exchange, Kroenke said: “We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100 per cent ownership of the club.
“We appreciate Mr Usmanov’s dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents,” KSE statement read
In October last year, KSE had offered around £525m to buy the 18,695 shares held by Usmanov.
The statement continued: “The successful implementation of the offer will result in the opening of a new chapter in the history of the club in bringing 100 per cent private ownership by KSE.
“KSE believes moving to private ownership 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.”
Kroenke believes taking the north London club into private ownership will increase their chances of success in the future.
The Gunners last won the Premier League title in 2004 and finished sixth last season, 37 points behind champions Manchester City.
Unai Emery was appointed the manager in May after the club said farewell to Arsene Wenger following 22 years in-charge.