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For the first time since Norris, one man owns most of our club

By Tony Attwood

I didn’t see it coming – in fact I have written a number of times on this blog to say that Mr Kronke would not be buying Arsenal.  And then lo and behold he does.  (Exit editor stage left covered in egg).

Good or bad it is certainly the end of a 100 year era as far as I can see, for it looks to me like being the first time since 1910 that one man has owned the majority of the club.

The last time it happened was in the summer of that fateful year when (as everyone who has read my book on the subject will of course know) Henry Norris took over the club as it teetered on the bring of administration.   Norris gave no assurances at first, and tried to merge Woolwich Arsenal with Fulham, with the resultant Fulham Arsenal playing at Craven Cottage.

When the League turned this idea down he returned with a second plan in which Woolwich Arsenal would play as a separate club again at Craven Cottage, on alternative saturdays.

The league said they had no powers to stop this move, despite the huffing and puffing from the neighbouring artificially created club Chelsea, who had entered the league from nowhere – no fans, no team, no history, no nothing.  Just a bit of land.

In the end Henry Norris gave an undertaking not to move the club for two years, in order to give the locals of Plumstead and Woolwich the chance to buy the club.   In fact Mr Norris left the club at its old ground for three years, before moving us north in 1913.  By the time we left we were playing to crowds of 3,000.

As far as I can work out Mr Norris offered the club’s shares to anyone interested three times over, and when not many people in Woolwich and Plumstead were interested he set up a company in which he and his fellow-travellers took up the ownership.

Today the shares the Norris issued in the company are still the same shares that are traded – what was once sold at £1 each is now traded at £11750 each or more – although there have been some share issues along the way.

Mr Kroenke has given a number of “confirmations” to the Board including how he proposes to finance the Offer – suggesting that he is not going to do a Glazer – although of course nothing can stop him doing a Glazer if he wants to.  But it would be very out of character.

He’s rich – well very rich – and so is his good lady, so they ought to be able to find £500m in cash if they need to.  Trouble is we don’t really know how much cash he has, because he has companies in Delaware.  This isn’t quite like having companies in the Virgin Islands and the like (as Tottenham do) but still, it is a dark, if not an utterly black, hole in accounting terms.

Anyway, he’s got Danny Fiszman’s shares and Lady Nina’s.  The latter deal is rather good news, because since the bust up at board level, Lady Nina has been a bit of a loose cannon threatening to sell her bunch of goodies to the Devil (well, not quite Tottenham, but you know… she didn’t seem to be on the best of terms with the board after the alteraction).  So the new owner has 62.89% and is (as the law requires) launching a bid for the rest.

Whether Mr Kronke gets the whole club depends on Alisher Usmanov’s 27% stake.  How bizarre it would be if we started to see Mr Usmanov as the bulwark against the unwanted invader, rather than Mr Kronke as the bulwark against Mr Usmanov.  I’m not sure Mr Usmanov will sell, and that means the compulsory takeover of all the small shareholdings will not happen.  My little investment in the club via Fanshare looks safe for the time being.

So, we wait to see if Mr Kronke will act like the previous owners of Liverpool or will be honourable.  My money would be on the latter – not least because he is a man who owns lots of sports ventures, and has never wrecked any of them, as far as I know.  But then, as I said at the start, what do I know?

However Mr Wenger is still in place until 2014, and Mr Kroenke is on record as saying Arsène Wenger is a wonderful manager.  I wonder if any of Mr Kroenke’s staff give him summaries of the jottings of Untold?  With statements like that he ought to be standing next to Walter and I at the top of the page.  If I spot Mr Kroenke outside the Auld Triangle having a pre-match beverage I’ll see if we can get a snap.

Anyway, he now has Arsenal, Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), St Louis Rams (NFL) and Colorado Rapids (MLS), various sporting locations, regional sports TV channel and a ticketing company and is reputed never to have sold a single share or any club having bought it. I think he also wants to be dealing in Arsenal’s HD broadband rights too.

But here’s a little thought to be going on with (although you might not find it of much value given my mis-guess over what would happen in this affair).

Mr Wenger will leave in a few years time.  We will need another manager.  That manager might continue the policy of building youth teams and putting the money into salaries not huge transfers.  But if the new boss does want to spend lots of money, the chances are there is someone sitting at the top of the club who has it, and could donate it.

So, that’s it.  We have a new owner.  All things considered, if I had had to pick one from the potential list of candidates, Mr Kroenke would have been the man.  Certainly I think I would sooner have this American billionaire, rather than one of those Russian or Arabian fellows.  But maybe that’s just because I quite like the USA.

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85 comments to For the first time since Norris, one man owns most of our club

  • avatar Bexxy

    The wind of change, and long over due. I’m not all together comfortable with the uncertainty of new owners. I’d have preferred the current board to have been strong enough to have made more subtle changes over the past few years, even at the risk of upsetting Wenger. Any new owner is likely to want their own manager in place sooner rather than later. I think Wenger will be to stubborn to accept less authority, which is inevitable.

  • avatar Rhys Jaggar

    The on dit I have read at numerous sources says that the precipitating factor of this transaction was the ill health of Mr Fiszman.

    Apparently he had offered Mr Kroenke first refusal and who knows what complications might have ensued had the shares been part of his Last Testament.

    I think this makees sense as there is no a priori reason to divert the Club’s attention from the remainder of the season if the transaction could have taken place happily at the end of the season.

    As to how it will play out, I guess it will depend on what Mr Usmanov can do, might want to do in the current situation. Mr Peston at the BBC says he is hardly chuffed at the news…..

    Based on what was promised by Kraft upon taking over Cadbury’s, one should be cautious before assigning stated intentions to future actions. But the statements issued say he is not buying Arsenal with debt, will not load debt onto Arsenal in future and has not, in any of his other sports franchises, loaded debt onto them. Which sounds to me like an honourable owner…..

  • avatar Shard

    @Rhys

    Apparently the statement says KSE have no “current intention” to debt finance.

  • avatar Shard

    @Tony

    I’ll ask you what I’ve been asking around in other places too.. What do you think Kroenke brings to Arsenal? How does Arsenal gain from having him as the owner? (although it seems that Usmanov will not sell his stake) So far, all I can see happening for a fact is that he will take revenues out of the club.

  • avatar ak47

    in no particular order. rothschild, jewish, economics, 2012, guardiola, rights, connections, intelligence. quite happy with the news myself. bravo.

    on another note, i was talking to a manure taxi driver today. our defence is crap apparently.

    cannot wait til summer. i think and hope it will be the start of an era.

    would pep consider being no2 for 2 yrs?

    will arsene see out his contract?

    exciting times.:-)

  • avatar Stroller

    I think the main thing this brings is the start of re-establishing stability and direction at the top of the club, which hasn’t been there since the split with Dein. I say ‘start’ because there is still a fair bit to do. Kroenke and Usmanov will have to establish a working relationship (assuming the Russian doesn’t want to sell out). You can’t have the two main shareholders at loggerheads. Then there is the question of the Chairmanship and make-up of the Board. I can’t see PHW going for much longer. I know Kroenke is saying no big changes right now, but come this time next year the leadership could look much different.

  • avatar nicky

    With Mr Kroenke being the de facto owner of Arsenal, he should immediately see that Mr Usmanov gets a seat on the Board, purely on the basis of his shareholding. This would diffuse any suggestion of infighting and demonstrate solidarity. Then, between the two heavyweights, they should devise a way to get David Dein back into the Arsenal hierarchy. His Club CV is too good to lose.
    The final initial action to usher in a new phase in the Club’s history would be to courteously ease out the Old Guard Chairman.
    His time is over.
    The future looks bright. Let us hope that the new regime is given a fair crack of the whip before judgement is given. That’s only fair.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    Firstly, lets get this straight, Stan Kroenke is worth $2.9 bil (£1.8 bil). So, one thing is for sure and that is he wont be having enough money to buy Arsenal as of now bcoz he wont be having half of his worth in cash or bank balance. So it would be hard to see how he does this takeover without any debt.

    Secondly, he’s a businessman not a philanthropist. So his main intentions are for a good return unlike our current owners like Bracewell-Smith or Fiszman or Hill-Wood, whose families are linked with Arsenal even b4 World War.

    Both these points will be a cause for concern for every Gooner. The best solution, imho, is that Usmanov doesn’t sell his shares to him and we keep Arsenal under Dual ownership rather than a Singular one. Simply bcoz, its very risky to keep one guy to have control of everything. Arsenal’s multiple ownership system has helped us sustain a profitable business till now. So we shouldn’t have changed it in the first place. Also, i’d love to see Usmanov and David Dein be invited in the Board of Directors.

  • avatar walter

    Well to be honest I’m not wild and extatic since I heard the news. But if I had to chose between Usmanov and Kroenke I would have gone for Kroenke. In a perfect world I would have kept the share where they are now but as nothing is perfect in the world…

    Now we can only hope that he keeps his word and doesn’t do us a Glazer or a Hicks-Gillet thing. But as people say: he has never done this to any of the clubs he ownes so we can but hope for the best.

  • avatar Andy Kelly

    I’m no financial expert but I’m sure the statement released by KSE said that Stan has not bought Fizsman’s shares but has first option on them if Fizsman wants to sell. There are lots of “except Kroenke and Fizsman’s shares” in the statement.

    He will have to fork out about £125m for the other shares he has said he will buy. That leaves Usmanov & loads of small shareholders. I can’t see Usmanov selling, so Stan won’t be forking out a huge chunk of his money just yet.

    I still can’t work out why he wants to buy though.

  • avatar walter

    I agree with Dark Prince and hope that Usmanov doesn’t sell his shares so there will always be someone to watch the other. And who knows maybe they could reach some kind of mutual agreement on how to run Arsenal. Some kind of dual ownership is prefered to a single owner by me.

    I did liked the way he talked about Arsenal and Arsène Wenger as a wonderdul manager in their message. I think he should write an article for Untold. ;-)

    Yesterday I read an article on the swiss rambler blog from last year about Kroenke. He does seems to be a serious person who wants his teams to work properly.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    Also i’m quite surprised by the timing of Kroenke to make his move. We’re right smack in the middle of our final run-in. He could have just waited for another month till our season got over. I hope Wenger is not distracted by this for the rest of the games. But i guess Wenger must be quite experienced to get affected. But More importantly, i hope our players are not distracted by all whats happening.

  • avatar gooner80

    I cant believe arsenal are only worth £700 million

  • avatar Shard

    Andy kelly

    Yeah, I believe it is an option on Fiszman’s shares, while he has purchased Lady Nina’s shares. Part of it might be to end uncertainty as to the shares of the Bracewell-Smith family which have been on the market for a while. Fiszman in any case, won’t and can’t sell it Usmanov because of the lockdown agreement till 2012. In which timeframe, Kroenke might generate enough funds to purchase those shares too.

    The key here is Usmanov’s shares. While I agree with Dark Prince that it is better to have multiple shareholders, and I am actually disappointed that the board is recommending a sale, I’m not too sure about Usmanov’s motives either. So far, he’s the only fellow who has demanded that Arsenal pay dividends to shareholders. Doesn’t sound like he makes the calls with the club’s interests at heart to me.

  • avatar Macca

    Ah! 1910…an interesting year. By then Villa had created The League,won it six times and bagged the FA Cup five times! Now, THAT is a club with a peerless history.

    This Kroenke buyout is curious. His assets are worth an estimated £1.8 billion (which does not strike me as nearly enough to go down the sugardaddy route of bought success)and he is buying Arsenal for an inflated £800 million. That’s the best part of half his fortune being invested into a football club purchase.

    It would be a huge, huge gamble on his part to finance this deal with simply his own cash. I would guess he is borrowing a portion of the money in some way – perhaps following the Randy Lerner model of borrowing from liquid family funds? Should this be the case, given the crowing, convoluted essays on football finance that I have read on this site, the irony would be delicious.

    Key to any future success for Arsenal is Arsene Wenger. You guys will need stability on the pitch. Wenger’s methods will keep you guys competing at a high level for the foreseeable future. Some supporters might not want this BUT I am sure Kroenke will. The longer Wenger is around and doing what he does best, the better for Arsenal’s new American owner and his huge investment. Stability is key!

    Interesting times for Arsenal.

  • avatar Mandy Dodd

    Kronke – he has a very very minted missus even if he is worth only 1.8bn. Maybe this is some kind of birthday or anniversary present to him!
    I cannot see much if anything changing. These people would not be releasing shares to anyone who may rock the boat too much, and Wenger seems positive about him as well.
    Personally, I hope – maybe against hope that at some point Dein will be return – but maybe that would be rocking the boat. Sometimes, you need a bit of something of the night about you in negotiating transfers, or dealing with the FA / EPL – Dein certainly has this, not sure PHW or Wenger do – at times maybe to our cost.
    Can maybe see the seemingly commercially aware Kronke and co wanting to expand our brand a bit more overseas – and nothing will do that like success!

  • avatar Simon

    None of us knows how liquid or illiquid Stan Kroenke is as regards his net wealth so anyone can either imagine he is loading us with debt or not, it does seem unlikely that he plans to flood us with cash and players having sacked Arsene and appointed Mourinho!!

    There is a loan option to the deal though so clearly Stan is careful with his folding, don’t think that is significant though, I think KSE has the cash.

    Stan has a pretty transparent and well publicised record as a sports franchise owner, the accounts of his teams comply with US accounting standards and league regulations – they are not loaded with debt or blood-sucked al la Manure to pay PIK loans – his books are more open than anything Uzmanov would show us anyway. His teams grow their fan numbers and win stuff, sometimes (Rapids are Champs, Go Rapids Go!!)

    I suspect Diamond Danny wanted the deal done as he is very ill and Nina is sufficiently old-school to settle for a few million less to keep the ghastly Uzbek out of the deal – £100+ millions for her family stake is a big old wedge!

    Be interesting to see what Alisher does, an amicable return of DD to the fold might be welcome, but this is Stan’s club now and he already put his man, Ivan Gazidis, in the top job. I think the Uzbek sells and buys someone else.

  • avatar NY Gooner

    I suppose this was inevitable, but we will have to watch closely. There is no way this is a cash deal. He will have taken out financing– the question is what assets did he leverage? If he obtains 75% control like the Glazers I understand he will be able to transfer debt to the Arsenal.

    His US teams have been mediocre (the Rapids won the MLS but that is still a minor league). I do not have any great hope he will transform Arsenal for the better. More likely best case scenario is “steady as she goes”.

    One question I have never understood about UK takeover law is what happens if he unsuccessful in his attempted “offer to buy all outstanding shares”– does he stay pat with his current 62% or is there some onus on him to sell out his majority position??

  • avatar Sammy The Snake

    Cautiosly optimistic. Stan has shown he knows how to profitably run sports businesses, which is probably why he’s attracted to Arsenal.

    My worry is that his teams are focused mainly on profitability, not winning championships!

    I would rather see him buy the entire company, it’s never a good idea to have a split in decision making. He will need an open hand to carry out his strategies. Let’s just hope his intentions are pure, which they have been so far for all his teams.

  • avatar Shard

    I’m still more cautious than optimistic.. For years we have been told that retaining plurality of ownership is the best way forward. What has changed? Also, Kroenke’s experience running sports teams in the US notwithstanding, I still fail to see what he brings to the table. What does he add to us, and our capabilities, that we do not have anyway?

  • avatar Sammy The Snake

    Correction – Stan teams do win championship, from time to time.

  • avatar Wrenny

    @Shard
    He will probably improve us commercially, an area we’ve been quite weak in but are striving to improve. Arsenal have been trying to improve, or buy themselves out of, the shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates, and according to the Guardian this is something that Kroenke could get closely involved in. His contacts could get us big commercial sponsorship deals.

    @Sammy
    I’m not all that familiar with how American sports teams work (Paul C could probably tells us a lot more) but I imagine that the systems they have in place – salary caps, college draft – to keep the sport highly competitive would make it difficult for Kroenke to simply ‘buy’ his teams’ success.

  • avatar walter

    Maybe a new and big shirt sponsor deal in the future with Wal-Mart on our shirts?

  • avatar steven

    I think that maybe this takeover has come too late for us to close the gap on the big spending clubs and that the board may have missed an opportunity to see major investment in line with Chelsea and Man City’s by refusing to let Kroenke take over earlier. At the beginning of the 2012-13 season the new UEFA spending restrictions kick in, which will mean a club cannot spend more than they bring in over a three year period. This will have a huge impact on us should we now try to bring in big name players on inflated wages, especially with the current 50% tax bracket effectively meaning that we have to pay higher wages than any of our counterparts in the other main footballing nations.

    We have one of the highest matchday incomes in the world but other money streams are limited due to poorly thought out long term deals being signed. We current lag way behind Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool on this front. We got £100m for a 15 year deal with Emirates while Man U got £80m for just 4 years from Aon, well it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

    We will also be hampered by having a large number of overpaid players in our squad! Diaby, Denilson, Eboue and Bendtner have all signed new long-term contracts recently which will almost certainly mean their deals were improved? This cannot have been done on a performance related basis and can only have been done to avoid them leaving the club on a Bosman. All clubs will find it hard to maintain a 25 man squad which is filled with the top percentage earners, especially if those players are sub-standard. Manchester City are the club most likely to suffer but we will also have problems if we have the expected clearout in the summer and try to plug the gaps by buying the finished articles that we all crave. It will be a balancing act and I fear the club may decide to persevere with the current policy of polishing rough diamonds rather than bring in the experienced quality required to sustain our challenges for trophies beyond March and April.

    Arsene must be worried this morning. Will Kroenke be as patient as the current owners have been with regard to winning trophies? Maybe Arsene’s prudence will win favour with the American but there’s no guarantee of that when Kroenke will want to prove to the supporters that his takeover is good for the club. I’m not sure that any assurances will have been given to Arsene regarding his position and he will have a nervous wait before his fate is confirmed at the end of the season. If by some miracle we win the title and he is retained, I really hope that some pressure is exerted on Arsene to change direction and accept his experiment just hasn’t worked (yes even if we do win the title).

    Only time will tell if the takeover will be good for us but a break in the gloom that has surrounded the club in recent months would be a start.

  • avatar Shard

    @Wrenny

    Regarding the point about not being allowed to buy success.. The other way to look at it is that neither are his competitors. Something we do face with the likes of Chelsea, ManU, ManCity, Spurs even.. Will he want to finance us on a scale that we compete with them? I doubt it, and I’m not really sure I want it anyway.

    I know he might help us improve commercially. We don’t know how yet. A tie up with his US sport companies is a possibility, but as someone on some other blog pointed out, none of those teams are in the major markets in the US. Besides, Chelsea, and ManU have stolen a march on us when it comes to the US market. Realistically, how much difference can Kroenke make.

    Meanwhile, what do we risk? Probably he could take dividends, or some other form of revenue out of the club, as a return for his investment. He could also just use us as an investment and sell us on once our debt disappears, and the share prices go up. We do not know anything yet. The hope is that he decides that the best way to further his business interests is that Arsenal win titles, and that we expand our global reach. If we do achieve all that, we still have the risk of being sold to whoever turns up with enough money to convince the businessman in Kroenke. I’m willing to be optimistic, and I trust the Board’s judgment in the sense that I do believe they care about Arsenal, it’s traditions, and it’s future. At the moment though, I see no reason to be optimistic.

  • avatar vulge

    im going to wait to pass judgement on the new ownership. it was going to happen sooner or later so im glad its not the uzbeki billionaire that looked sure to ruin financial stability. as long as there is some money to spend then i’ll be happy, im not expecting man city or chelsea money, just some to get what we need properly without having to take the cheap option. one thing i was curious about though was what if one or two of his american franchises goes bust? will this directly affect our club and could it be a problem? im not really clued up on the financial side of businesses or multiple ones for that matter. does anyone know the consequences if such situation arises?

  • avatar Shard

    LOL..I know steven just copy/pastes articles from here and there, but some people do write useless stuff don’t they.. In any case, a way to garner favour with the majority of Arsenal fans will not be by sacking Wenger. The ones voicing that opinion are more vocal and loud, than they are numerous. Tony’s comments about Lord Spode from P.G.Wodehouse comes to mind..

  • avatar dr kox

    With all the news about Kroenke’s imminent purchase of Arsenal, I don’t see how it makes any difference. By all accounts Arsenal have been one of the most profitable clubs around over the last few years and the money has been available for Wenger to go buy whomever he wants. He’s just refused to invite any additional pressure to justify the big transfer fees with trophies, by sticking with his middling outlays.

    Just because ownership changes, does that mean that Arsene is automatically going to change his philosophy all of a sudden?

  • avatar Paul

    It does seem surprising the timing of this move but then again who knows what goes on in the Boardroom?
    Me personally I would rather see Stan in charge than Uzmanov. He does seem to have a sports business mind and as rightly pointed out he has supported all of his sports clubs fully. I’m sure he will push us along in the right direction. Merchandise, Tv etc. Not worried about Arsene. Stan is seemingly a fan and as we all know it might not be poopular with all the fans but we do make a profit and our debt is going down every year and a lot of that is down to Arsene in the transfer market.If he could work along side Uzmanov then things should stay the same. I personally don’t see Dein coming back.
    Not sure how Stan has founded all his other clubs but I’m sure he has been astute. He is a Billionare in his own right and lets not forget his wife. She is a Co- heir to the Walmart chain. So I don’t think he’ll ahve any problems raising the cash. I don’t see him raping the Club like Manure.
    Gooner for life.

  • avatar Wrenny

    @Shard
    I’m with you, I don’t want to see Arsenal joining Chelsea and Man City in plucking mercenaries left and right on crazy wages. But I don’t think that will happen anyway. My point was that those competitive measures in American sports restricts the influence a team owner can have on the on field success by splashing the cash. So I believe it’s difficult to attribute the lack of success of his teams to Kroenke himself for lacking ambition, or that (like Sammy was pondering) his focus is on profitability rather than trophies.

  • avatar Shard

    @wrenny

    As far as I’m concerned that’s not much of a consideration. Teams in the US often go decades without winning anything. The rebuilding tends to last for longer. Reference the Chicago Bulls in the NBA, who with Michael Jordan won their last title in 98. This year finally they look like they have a team that is realistically capable of winning the title, and there are some other real threats to that crown. The Boston Celtics (a very proud franchise indeed) didn’t win the title for over two decades. I’m not sure about the other sports, but I’m sure they function in a similar way.

    So in terms of not looking at the results of his US teams as a direct comparision, I agree with you. (even though a casual look reveals that generally the teams have improved once he took over)

    That dissimilarity could help us in other ways as well. Teams in the US don’t face relegation, and they are pretty much assured of their share of fans, and TV money. In a way, a team can get by very well, without winning anything (and more often than not they do).. It’s not like that in the EPL. Missing out on the playoffs does not impact profitability in an 82 game season in the NBA, while missing out on the champions league can be disastrous. That should make him want to win even more, since for his investment to be successful it will be good if we win.

    I guess I’m very much undecided as to where I stand on this. I have a feeling largely he’s not going to harm us. I still don’t know if he’ll be good for us. And if he will, at what point will he decide his personal interests lie ahead of Arsenal’s?

  • avatar Shard

    LOL..I just said I’m not sure, but I’m sure.. I have the makings of a philosopher somewhere in me.. That, or it’s just the fact that it’s 3 AM here :)

  • avatar Wrenny

    I’m still not sure what to make of it myself. Kroenke’s ownership of sports teams in the US makes me cautiously optimistic, but I worry about the prospect of a leveraged buy-out. He has said he won’t place debt on the club, and although I believe him other owners have made those promises before and broken them. There’s a lot more money involved in this deal than in his previous sports acquisitions, none of which were bought through debt.

    Right now it’s difficult to say what his intentions are, so I’m really just reserving judgement until we know more. It’s wait and see!

  • avatar NeilB

    What would be the practicalities of us using his MLS team as a proving ground for young players? Presumably we could loan five players a year and use it as a chance to blood young players in a league at roughly Championship level?

  • avatar true gunner

    Personally I think we never needed the takeover what we realy need is David Dien back and Wenger to open his eyes admit his failings play the players in their preferd positions sit back and reep the rewards. despite recent failings we DO have a good team its just about time it was esembled properly.
    Dien was realy was the only one Wenger had enough respect for (football wise) to listen to what he had to say about all matters football. Lets not forget Dien was the one that brought wenger here in the first place. We are constantly told Wenger had/has money to spend and if Dien were there you can bet your arse he would of spent some of it.
    I’m defenitly with the rest of you that say Dien should be brought back in some kind of calibre but what role would he fill
    and if usomanov keeps his shares as predicted do we realy need the two biggest share holdrs at each others throats all the time because I dont think either one has alot of time for the other. in fighting at board level will tare the club apart from the inside out. It would be a convienient excuse if Wenger decided to pack his bags and leave. (thoe I doubt he wouuld) then how many of our better players would want to stay the majority of them have all said they came to this club to play for Wenger not the badge!!!!!! then we would realy be up the creek.
    The timing like most of you mentioned sucks a bit if Kroenke was buying up Fizmans whos health is rapidly depleteing then maybe I could understand wanting to get there before usamonov but as I have it the shares will automatically be given first refusal to Kroenke. So I’m not sure why it had to happen now.

  • avatar RedGooner

    Stan Kronke, Hasnt half the money his wife has.
    Walmart here state side has been rocking through the downturn in the economy due to the type of business it is.
    I have often looked at stories over her regarding Stans sports ventures and all seem to run really well and are self sustaining business models.
    How some people want Stan to invite a sewer rat like Usmonov to board is beyond me and I would imagine Stan will show him the door as soon as he possibly can he doesnt need a russian to help run his life or bussiness interests.

    AFC will run the same as it has over the last 10-15 years there wont be huge injections of cash like some people want and he will support wengers management philosophy.

    I think it will be a good stable enviroment for the club and it will continue to grow stronger.

  • avatar GoonerTerry

    Some people have commented that the timing of the deal seems odd but I beg to differ. From a business stand point it could not be better, coming as it does mere weeks after the mid-term financial results. Stan it must be remembered has been a major owner of the club for neigh on 3-years. Everyone on the board had to chance to have a good look at him. We can’t fault his temperament as we can recall how he dealt with the outrageous comments of “rent-a-mouth” Hill-Wood about “not wanting his type at Arsenal” – DD brought him to Arsenal and Stan stayed faithful to the club throughout the shit-storm that followed that led to the sacking of DD. I am confident that Stan will prove to be a great asset to the club. He will bring his vast experience running major U.S. sports franchises. For those who have never experienced watching sports in America I can tell you that its all focussed on the fans – light-years ahead of Britain. Stan has already begun influencing the commercial side of the club – this is where Arsenal will make the greatest gains in the next 5-years. I don’t expect Red & White Holdings to sell their shares. The Uzbek will want to stay and rattle his cuff-links from time to time. But I am glad that it is Stan and not he that not controls the club. Unlike some people I don’t subscribe to the view that the club needs huge cash inflows to buys several new players. I believe we need two or three max and we already have the funds for that. What we need is better leadership on and off the field. Sadly, since Danny Fitzman had to leave Britain as a tax exile and then got sick, we lost his dynamism on the board. Danny is a ‘can-do’ kind a guy and I believe is the same kind a person. They are both quiet and unassuming but they are giants in their own right. This is a good thing too because its a friendly take over. The timing must be a preemptive strike against the Uzbek who has been very busy trying to buy up every bit of Arsenal stock he could find. Had he got to 31% he would have triggered a hostile take-over make no bones about that. That would have been detrimental to the interest of the club..

  • avatar Shard

    I agree GoonerTerry. Kroenke has always been a bulwark against Usmanov. For whatever reason, the board does not feel that the Uzbek, even though he is far richer than Kroenke, would be good for the club. Lady Nina apparently turned down an offer of 13000 pounds per share from him. That may also be due to a deal already being signed with Kroenke of course. but her shares were the key there. Danny Fiszman was never going to sell to Usmanov, and his shares have been optioned since his family apparently isn’t keen on staying involved with the club. We do not know whether Stan even intends to buy the club, it’s just that he has to offer to.

    And I agree with you that Usmanov should not be on the board. It doesn’t help if two such contrasting people are forced to run a business together. Anyway. I hope we hear something from Kroenke personally soon. I know he’s the silent type, but I think he should come out and tell us his intentions.

  • There’s a nice summary of the share ownership etc etc at

    http://www.arsenalnews.co.uk/kroenke/takeover.html

    Thanks to Arsenal News for that.

    Tony

  • avatar DC

    The official statement made to the London Stock Exchange by KSE reveals that there will be NO interest-laden loan or debt of any form placed onto Arsenal football club by the turnover, and the financial model currently established and being employed will continue. So no Glazer or Lerner scenario but rather a new and modernised Sugar Daddy one! Good news if true, and I can’t see why it wouldn’t be considering the formal financial source.
    Unfortunately, the pompous PHW remains as chairman for now, according to the LSE statement, but i seriously don’t see that being for too long, and hope that DD is bought back to the fold in the Summer! I see many positives in this takeover and modernising upheaval and it will be positively reciprocated on the turf too; if not in the form of the EPL title this season, then massively the next! Good job, Wal-Mart Stan!

  • avatar Dark Prince

    I think there are as many negatives as there are positives in the takeover by Kroenke.

    First of all, he doesn’t have enough liquidity to pay for Arsenal’s takeover. And Swiss Ramble himself said that he had a little trouble to pay off Fiszman. Infact, it will be a big concern if he still hasn’t paid him off from the previous transaction.

    All in all, he doesn’t have enough money to get the Arsenal deal thru. And remember, he is an american. The feeling of being a custodian of an English football club wont be as in-built as it is in the case of his american sports clubs.

    Also its also very surprising to see where his business attention lies. He has 3 sports clubs in U.S and estate business too which is there and now he has Arsenal in london.

    Also remember, Arsenal is a success model in sports business. And one the main reasons why we are successful was bcoz of our plural ownership. Just think, we had owners who have been with us since 1920’s. They have been with us during the good times and bad times. Do you really think Kroenke can do the same? I dont think so. Do we really have to change anything if everything is going good? Again, i dont think so.

    Also its crazy to see how people who once used to criticize other club’s ownership issues are now boasting about having an American as a owner who has his company based in Delaware. Are we any different from Spurs now?? Hypocrisy at its best.

    Also America is still recovering from an economic depression. American owners haven’t fared well in EPL. So how come we’re following the same path??

  • avatar Dark Prince

    Also its very suprising to see how our Board who a few months back had re-assured us about the ownership to be remain as it is, are now backing the sale so hastily?? Why such a sudden change in their opinions??
    I hope Usmanov isn’t going anywhere. He may not be better than Kroenke, but its a lot better to have both them keeping a watchful eye over each other rather any single one of them doing everything without any accountability.

  • avatar DC

    @ Dark Prince,
    The total deal will be around £900 million which includes our £120 million debt (which will be paid-off).
    KSE is not a company solely based on Kroenke’s PERSONAL assets and wealth, similarly as Virgin is not solely based on Richard Branson’s Personal assets or Wealth. Both KSE and Virgin are investment companies with their asset wealth far greater than those of their Chairmen so don’t keep equating the two! How these investment companies have chosen to invest, is formally and officially obtainable from the relevant financial authorities (in Arsenal’s case, the London Stock Exchange), read my post above.
    Any new owner is always a concern, however, if he maintains the same model then there shouldn’t be a problem. The only persons that truly matter here are Arsene, who has created the club’s modern model, and who he advises to take over and continue it once he wants to put his feet up!

  • avatar Shard

    Kroenke isn’t the ‘owner’ of Arsenal yet. Usmanov and indeed the 10%+ of small shareholders have a part to play. For all we know Kroenke doesn’t WANT to own Arsenal. He has to make an offer for the shares, but that doesn’t mean he actually wants them. He could just be increasing his stake, and at the same time protecting us from a hostile takeover mounted by Usmanov.

  • avatar Shard

    @Dark Prince

    It’s no good speculating on his liquidity. US laws apparently don’t need him to disclose that. So we do not know.

    @Dc
    The offer document doesn’t really say that there won’t be a LBO. It just says that it is not KSE’s “current intention” to do so. No guarantees there, especially as regards the future.

  • avatar Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I agree that the board has changed it’s tune and I’m not happy about it. But there has been a change in circumstances. Danny Fiszman’s health apparently is not good. His family do not want to carry on their stake in Arsenal. So he decided to sell it, but obviously he would make a decision as to where to sell based on what he feels is better for Arsenal. Lady Nina’s shares were open to being snapped up by Usmanov, and the board do not want him to gain control. As I said, so far, we do not know whether a complete takeover is even planned, or it’s just consolidating and protecting the current structure of the board.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    @DC
    Just one little question for u – KSE is now goin to own Arsenal. And as we all know, KSE hasn’t just invested in Arsenal. There other sports clubs involved. Just tell me, if one of the other sports clubs in KSE have a bad financial year (and it can happen, since its in the U.S) what assurances do we have that Arsenal’s revenue or profits will not be used to fund other KSE investments??

    We all forget that even Colorado Rapids or Denver Nuggets or St.Louis Rams are part of KSE. If anything happens to them, then eventually Arsenal too may have suffer bcoz of it.

  • avatar Shard

    @Dark Prince

    If you’re worried about money being taken out of the club, then there is no need to consider the seasons or the finances of those other teams. The owners, or even the current board, can always decide to take money out. It’s harder with a multiple ownership structure, and more likely with a single owner. But those other teams’ fortunes don’t have to have anything to do with it.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    @Shard- if a change in circumstances is enough to change the Board’s game plan, whats stopping Kroenke from not going thru with the takeover on the basis of Debt?? Remember, even Gillet and Hicks had said that they wont buy Liverpool on basis of debt but later on “circumstances’ changed their mind.

  • avatar Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I share all of your concerns. I’m still undecided as to my take on this. I’m trying to gauge the pros and cons here. I would undoubtedly have wanted a continuation of the multiple ownership model, but since the situation isn’t the same anymore, we’ll have to change our thoughts.

    Another issue is, apart from the statement saying that it is not going to burden the club with debt CURRENTLY. It also doesn’t say that no loans will be taken in order to make the purchase. Just that Arsenal will not be used as the security for the loan. This could well mean that we could still be paying interest payments on any loan that may be taken, except that those loans will not be Arsenal’s liability as per law.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    @Shard- You are highly mistaken if you think that the other sports clubs in the same category dont hav to anything with us. All of them are under one basket named KSE. If anything happens to the other clubs, then arsenal’s profits can be legally used to fund them. Just to make it more clear, look at the Glazers, if their businesses hav started to make loss then they have used ManU’s profits to settle them.

    Also the difference between our previous owners Hill-Woods, Fiszman and Bracewell-Smith and our current owner Kroenke is that they had a generation after generation to look after the club and not for monetary gains. But Kroenke is a businessman, no different than Usmanov.

  • avatar Shard

    @Dark Prince

    All I meant was that our profits could be used to fund something like 200 luxury cars for Kroenke’s personal fleet if he so chooses once he’s the owner. It doesn’t need to be the sports teams. What you perhaps misunderstand a little, is that while KSE owns all those franchises, they are all still separate legal entities.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    @Shard- you forget to realise that KSE will become the sole owner of Arsenal if Usmanov sells his shares. As a Sole Owner, the finances are all of his to play with. Kroenke doesn’t seem the kind of guy who will want 200 luxury cars for himself. But he isn’t a philanthropist either, if tomorrow, some of the other clubs in KSE start making loses then he can use Arsenal as a source of help them financially. A simple loan from Arsenal to Colorado Rapids isn’t a tough thing to do.

  • avatar Shard

    There is a way that Kroenke might get cash to buy Arsenal. I believe that NFL rules state that a team owner cannot have a majority stake in any NBA/NHL/MLB team in another city, if there is another NFL team in that city. In this case, that city is Denver. Apparently Kroenke has to relinquish control over those teams (the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche) by 2014, if he is to remain as owner of the St.Louis Rams (NFL)

    So he will have to sell either the Rams, or his ice hockey and basketball teams. I would guess it’ll be the Rams, since he has shown commitment to the Denver community before, and because basketball remains his first love by all accounts. Plus, the value of the Denver clubs’ sales might be hampered by the fact that according to kroenke’s agreement, they have to remain in Denver till 2025. US teams often move across the country in search of bigger markets and better facilities.

  • avatar Shard

    @Dark Prince

    Is it so difficult to understand that basically the risk you are highlighting is ever present, and even more so with a single owner. The sports teams and their fortunes are just ONE of the reasons he could take money out of the club.

  • avatar DC

    @ Dark Prince & Shard,
    We all share the same concerns with regards the ownership and co-operating, multiple ownership is ideal but unrealistic anymore in the current world we all live in. What makes Kroenke’s situation so different from other owners in the EPL are two-fold:
    1. He already owns 2 US sporting “franchises”, and no matter how much we may all hate to admit, the US sporting climate is far more profitable and wealthier in terms of income. NO “soccer team”, even Barcelona or Manure, can make the kinds of billions that the top American Teams can make. Ergo, he is very unlikely to need Arsenal as a source of any income for funding that market.
    2. The way we have now been set-up and run by Arsene is very much American in nature; bring in players on the relatively cheap, or free (i.e. from the youth set-up) akin to the draft system, and if good enough to fit-in to the way we play, begin paying them larger competitive salaries than fit in to your income structure. The time of paying stupidly high transfer fees us unlikely to happen again under Arsene or Kroenke!
    Put these two points together with a belief in the LSE statement, then why would you fear much really?! As usual, time will only tell now!

  • avatar DC

    I meant “2 relatively successful US sporting franchises” (i.e. The Nuggets & The Avalanche)!

  • avatar DC

    Furthermore, concerns with regards an owner taking money out of the club are now ever present everywhere! Do we honestly think that the vast majority of those business people on our current board are entirely philanthropic in nature?! Are any players?! Is any manager, even Arsene?! That’s what they call reality, I think!

  • avatar Shard

    @DC

    The last was actually my point. It is a legitimate concern, but no owner will ever give you guarantees that it won’t happen. As such I’m not that worried about it. But that issue comes only after Kroenke takes control. Right now I’m more interested in how he plans to do that, or whether he even plans to.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    @DC
    @Shard

    I think my guess is as good as yours. At the moment though we dont know anything about what gonna happen. I think it would bcom much clearer when we come to know how Kroenke is going to fund for the takeover.

  • avatar DC

    @Shard & Dark Prince,
    Agreed! Once we know where ALL of the money is coming from, things should become clearer!
    Here’s hoping that KSE are good-hearted Sugar Daddies who’ll just be happy with their nice annual dividend!

  • avatar goonergerry

    I do find a number of contradictions with this post- you appear with some caveats to welcome a takeover from a foreign owner who does not declare his annual accounts-on what evidence is he the better of 2 evils? Surely the current Board are more concerned with keeping Usmanov out than anything else?

    Do you know what plans Kroenke has for the club- or if he has any? How does he provide the leadership for Arsenal to face the challenges of the future?

    All he has said so far is that he will not use Arsenal assets to purchase his stake in the club. That is good news- the only good news- apart from his verbal support of AW. Usmanov too has gone on the record as describing Wenger as a genius so thats not unique.

    Do we welcome a new owner who does not invest in the team? Whether it be salaries or transfers. Well if there is to be no additional investment what is in it for the fans or indeed the club? Kroenke is not a benevolent- he is not even a fan. It appears that Kroenke likes being in charge of profitable sports businesses- but we do not know how he makes his money and whether he actually develops the franchises he owns- how successful are they on the sporting field?

    I have to say that I would appreciate Hill Wood giving us a definition of the traditional values that he thinks Kroenke brings to the club- given that we are an English club with a French manager, a largely French squad of players, playing a French style of football- exactly what traditions would Kroenke be maintaining- the Board conducting business in secret with no accountability to fans- or the fans paying very high ticket prices and having no say in the running of the club- indeed small shareholders being treated with contempt if they express disappointment in the results of the team? Are these traditions just an iteration of greed and self interest of current Board members desperate to cling onto power?

  • avatar Shard

    @goonergerry

    I agree. I still am not sure how this is beneficial to Arsenal. I know he brings experience of sports teams and marketing in USA etc, but those are vague terms. Specifically, what would we achieve with him as the owner, that we could not without him?

    But why this dislike of Peter Hill Wood suddenly? Call me old fashioned or soft, but I like having the chap around the place. I thought the AST (good work that they do usually notwithstanding) was wrong to release any sort of statement at this point, let alone one which contained certain inflammatory, playing to the gallery terms. And while PHW’s reaction may have been over the top and totally undiplomatic (I like that about him actually), I think it was very understandable.

  • avatar DC

    @goonergerry,
    What is wrong with someone being in charge of a profitable sporting business?! Wouldn’t we all like to be on the current board, which includes our “beloved” PHW, revelling in our financial prudence?!
    Running any sort of sporting business for real profit requires the opening up of new avenues for increasing your fan-based-income stream. If Kroenke can do that for us in the US, the only true commercial sporting powerhouse of the world, then great! I don’t think that the current board or Usmanov could do that! Manure and Chelski have tried for several years on their own without the expected success, so why can’t a man who actually knows how it’s done there without bankrupting his past ventures, succeed?! We must stop scare-mongering and see the immense possibilities that this potential marriage can bring! Let’s all wait and see what the “formal offer document” has to say! I also like the AST’s position, although expressed unnecessarily frankly, in maintaining their share! They will hopefully keep all informed and honest. I’m sure that the Anti-Glazer brigade at Manure wished that they had had such a voice during their takeover?!

  • avatar GoonerTerry

    I guess we have the Glaziers to thank for our apparent neurosis about Stan assuming majority shareholding in Arsenal Football Club. It is their despicable behavior that is being used as the banchmark here. Not Learner , nor Henry both of whom have been good for Villa and Liverpool respectively. I find the reactions bordering on Xenophobia and in great part ignorant of the nature of global business. Arsenal ceased to be a private business once it decided to be listed on the LSE. So all the belated concerns have been present for years. The same board that was being torn to shreds just days ago are being lionized by the same people. Listen up y’all: things have changed at Arsenal and you all should take the time to read up all you can about Stan and his business practices before you start spewing venom. For me this is a positive turn of events. The nature of global investments is that we can never be sure where money is coming from. Would we have been more comfortable if it had been Richard Brandson and Virgin that now controls Arsenal?

  • avatar DC

    @ Gooner Terry,
    I agree! Time to get rid of our “little Englander” mentality and live in the real world! Our set-up will remain far superior to most in Association football and bear in mind, we are in the top 10 of the richest “sporting clubs” in the world – a list which is two thirds dominated by US sporting powerhouses!

  • avatar Shard

    None of those sporting powerhouses will be the teams that Kroenke owns. That’s the thing. The US is a huge market. Possibly the biggest in terms of revenue potential. But does tying up with Kroenke help Arsenal exploit that market? His teams are based in the relative backwaters of Colorado and Missouri. Not New York, LA, Chicago etc. Won’t tying up with him, and by extension his interests there, actually limit our opportunities to gain a toehold in some of the bigger market areas in the US?

  • avatar Dark Prince

    Shard has made a good point. It would be interesting to see how he goes ahead in his commercial ventures including Arsenal in America. Its going to be a huge challenge for himself bcoz now he’s dealing with a global brand. He has to remember that Arsenal is not in America where most of the sports club have a good source of revenue. In england, its quite the opposite. He has to realise that Arsenal is like a beacon of hope in English football. Arsenal is one of a kind. And to maintain it at its present position will be a huge challenge in itself. In EPL, you have to fight for every position, a small slip up and we can miss £50 mil of champions league revenue, a bad season and we bange relegated. Such situations dont happen in America. So hopefully, he has learnt the EPL ways in last 3 years.

  • avatar DC

    I guess we’ll all just have to wait & see what the Anglo-Franco-American relationship brings!

  • avatar RedGooner

    Dc according to some articles stan was worth 2.7 and his wife 2.9 bill each in 2009 Thats 5.4 bill between them I think they can afford the club.

    Two articles here of interes the first is on how his business effects the local community’s

    http://www.icosamag.com/_webapp_1076661/A_Win-Win

    The second on him his finances etc they are worth a read.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/sports/soccer/15owner.html

  • avatar walter

    Oh well DC, the allied forces won the war… don’t mention the war, Jens is back… ;-)

  • avatar DC

    @ RedGooner,
    Thanks! I’ve read alot about Kroenke and his wife over the past few days and those were the same positive impressions that I got about him as an owner.
    @ Walter,
    Lol! At least Jens seems to have mellowed quite alot in 3 years!

  • Can I just re-iterate that Stan will only be forking out about £125m – not £500m and not £731m (and not £0.5m for the AST’s shares).

    He is only buying Lady Nina’s, Hill-Wood’s, Chips Keswick’s, Lord Harris’ and Ken Friar’s shares. Lady Nina’s are worth about £120m and the rest are about £5m.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    @Andy Kelly- u sure about that figure?? Kroenke purchased 33% of Arsenal’s shares (from 29.9% to 62.9%). If Arsenal is worth near £750 mil, then 33% wud mean £250 mil. And by most recent estimates by forbes, Kroenke is worth only £1.5 bil. So yes, there would be an issue of how he would be financing his takeover.

  • avatar GoonerTerry

    Dark Prince stop talking about his net worth and look into the accounts of Kroenke Sports Enterprises his investment group. That is where the funds will come from to finance the purchase of the stock.

  • avatar Andy Kelly

    @Dark Prince
    Read my post agin.

    He hasn’t bought Fizsman’s shares.

  • avatar Andy Kelly

    My rough calculations make the owners of the club:
    Kroenke – 46%
    Usmanov – 27%
    Fizsman – 16%
    Others – 11%

    That doesn’t look too bad to me. I believe that Usmanov’s shares give him the ability to block any major changes to the club’s constitution. The good news here is that he has one of the club’s most ardent fans in his ear.

  • avatar walter

    I’m not very good at reading such things Andy Kelly, but if I understand it well Fizsman will keap his shares but when he dies Kroenke will have the right to buy them them first? So it will be after Fizsman passing away that he could get around the 62% of the shares.

    Well like you say: that doesn’t look to bad. Let’s hope Fizsman can overcome his disease and stay with us for a while.

  • avatar Andy Kelly

    That’s how I read it as well, Walter. I’m not sure if Kroenke is obliged to buy them though.

  • avatar Shard

    @Andy,

    Kroenke is obliged to buy them I think. It is an irrevocable agreement, and I would think that applies to both parties (not sure though). Oh, and when you say Usmanov has an Arsenal fan in his ear I presume you mean Dein? Dein isn’t with him any more. They parted ways some time back.

    Also, I agree. Kroenke’s personal net worth has almost nothing to do with any purchase he makes, except that only a very rich man will head a company that can afford to buy a club like Arsenal.

    However, I’m still not sure I’m in favour of it. The most happy circumstance would be that this was done ONLY to protect the club from a hostile takeover by acquiring the Bracewell-Smith shares. I doubt that is the case though. Ultimately, we have lost something with Kroenke in charge. Still to see what we’ll gain.

  • avatar Dark Prince

    Andy Kelly- if u read us link, it says that Kroenke has ‘interests or commitments’ in the 39000 Arsenal shares which is 62.89% of the total shares of Arsenal. So in a way, he does virtually has control over Fiszman’s shares. And by reports, as Fiszman’s heirs are not interested in the football club, the shares seem to be most likely headed towards Kroenke.

  • avatar Andy Kelly

    He has an interest in Fizsman’s shares but hasn’t bought them.

    There is a two-way agreement. Kroenke can exercise the right to buy them if he wanst and Fizsman can exercise the right to sell them if he wants.

    At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, Fizsman still owns 16% of Arsenal.

  • avatar GoonerTerry

    Daniel Fizsman R.I.P You were a man among men. Arsenal Football Club owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for your leadership and vision.

  • avatar Andy Kelly

    Well, that answers the question about why it all happened at the weekend.

    R.I.P. Danny.