Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has hit out at Stan Kroenke ’s bid to buy the club outright, saying it “marks a dreadful day” for the Gunners, Skysports reports.
Majority owner Kroenke, who owns 67 per cent, made a cash offer to take full ownership of the club, valuing Arsenal at around £1.8 bn after securing the backing of minority owner Alisher Usmanov (30 per cent).
The purchase of Usmanov as stake would give Kroenke 97 per cent ownership and would lead to the compulsory purchase of the remaining shares, some of which are owned by Arsenal fans.
The Supporters’ Trust statement read, “This news marks a dreadful day for Arsenal Football Club.
“Stan Kroenke taking the club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values.
“The AST is also extremely concerned to note that this purchase is being funded by a loan.
“The most dreadful part of this announcement is the news that Kroenke plans to forcibly purchase the shares held by Arsenal fans .
Many of these fans are AST members and hold their shares not for value but as custodians who care for the future of the club.
“Kroenke ’s actions will neuter their voice and involvement . It is in effect legalised theft to remove shareholder scrutiny on how Arsenal is managed.
“The AST is wholly against this takeover. Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person.”
Kroenke made a cash bid worth more than £550 m to buy Usmanov’s 30 per cent stake of the club to take full ownership, receiving an “irrevocable undertaking” from the Russian’s security firm to accept the offer as soon as possible.
It is understood Uzbekistan – born Usmanov’s decision to sell his stake in Arsenal is unrelated to current political tensions between the UK and Russia.