Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has made a £600m offer to buy the whole of the club in a deal that would value the Gunners at £1.8bn.
The American billionaire owns 67% of Arsenal through his company KSE, which says Alisher Usmanov has agreed to sell his 30% stake in the club.
A KSE statement says taking the club private will help to further Arsenal’s “strategy and ambitions”.The buy-out announcement was made to the London Stock exchange on Tuesday.
Despite his shareholding, Usmanov is not part of the board or the decision-making at Arsenal.
The metal magnate made a £1bn bid to buy the Emirates outfit in May 2017 but this was rejected by Kroenke.
In the statement to the stock exchange, Kroenke said KSE were “moving forward with this offer, leading to 100% ownership of the club” and they “appreciate Mr Usmanov’s dedication” to Arsenal.
The statement added: “KSE’s ambitions for the club are to see it competing consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League, as well as the major trophies in the women’s senior game and at youth level.”
KSE said that under “its stewardship since 2011 the club has invested in major transfers, player contracts, analytics, senior non-playing football management employees” and it “expects the club to build on those investments”.
Kroenke will be raising the capital to take control of the club with £45m of his own money and borrowing £557m, which he says will not be against the club.
“The offer is not being funded by way of any debt finance (bank loans, payment in kind loans or other debt or quasi debt interest bearing obligations) for which the payment of interest on, repayment of, or security for any liability (contingent or otherwise) will depend on the business of Arsenal,” said the statement.
Arsenal have a new manager in charge this season after Unai Emery took over from Arsene Wenger, who had been Gunners boss for 22 years.
In Wenger’s final season, Arsenal finished sixth in the Premier League as they missed out on the Champions League but qualified for the group stages of the Europa League.
The Gunners start their Premier League campaign against champions Manchester City on Sunday.
‘A dreadful day for Arsenal’ – fans’ reaction
While Kroenke says taking sole ownership will benefit the club, the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) called the news “a dreadful day” for the Gunners.
“Stan Kroenke taking the club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values,” said an AST statement.
AST added that by becoming the 100% owner, Kroenke would be able to take “detrimental actions” such as paying “management fees and dividends without any check or balance”.
It added: “The AST is also extremely concerned to note that this purchase is being funded by a loan.
“The AST is wholly against this takeover which marks a very sad day for Arsenal football club.”