The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust are set to oppose any move by Stan Kroenke to obtain full single ownership of the club.
Kroenke has reportedly offered £525m for Alisher Usmanov’s 18,695 shares in Arsenal. And according to the Standard, reports suggest he may now be set to sell. Usmanov hasn’t been granted a seat on the board with Arsenal, despite his large share, so he may be tempted to cash in, considering he has so little influence for all his investment.
If he sells, that only leaves a group of minority shareholders. If Kroenke could force them out he could make Arsenal a privately-owned company not required to hold Annual General Meeting’s and so on. However, the AST’s policy statement opposes this: “The AST continues to believe that Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one person.
“The best ownership model for Arsenal will always include supporters being represented and involved in the ownership structure as shareholders.
“We understand the reality that any stake in Arsenal is available to buy at any time should someone make an acceptable bid, but we will oppose any attempt to buy the club outright and take it into single ownership.”
It doesn’t sound like the AST will be keen to sell up if Kroenke makes a full 100% takeover bid. The reason the trust owns three Arsenal shares in the first place is so they can have a voice inside the club at the AGM.
If Kroenke privately owns the club, there will be very little accountability, no one to question the consultation fees to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment that appear in the financial statements from time to time.
But taking things step-by-step, Usmanov still hasn’t sold at this stage, so we still have a long way to go yet.