Arsenal deny UAE, Qatar takeover bid
Reports out of Britain claim that an Arab consortium, backed by funds from the UAE and Qatar, are preparing a $2.3billion bid to buy the Premier League outfit - more than what the club was valued at two years ago.
The group is apparently determined to drive the Gunners to the top of European football, vowing to slash ticket prices - a bone of contention among Arsenal fans recently - and stop the glut of star players from leaving the Emirates Stadium.
However, officials from the North London club say Kroenke is not interested in putting his controlling stake on the market.
“Stan Kroenke is committed to Arsenal for the long term and has no intention of selling his stake,” said Mark Gonnella, Arsenal’s communications director. “There has been no contact from any potential investors.”
Kroenke pushed through his $646million-plus takeover in April 2011, and now holds 66.83 per cent of the club to give him overall control. The Kroenke Sports Enterprise Group has a history of sustained involvement in all of his sporting interests in the United States, which include the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL, as well as MLS club the Colorado Rapids.
Arsenal’s second largest shareholder, Uzbek oil magnate Alisher Usmanov is also said to be similarly reluctant to sell his 29.96 per cent holding. Reports claim the bid is for 100 per cent of the club and would wipe out their $376 million debt, however, it is dependent on the Gunners qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
The consortium is believed to be behind Wenger, despite the club not winning a trophy in eights years. However, a successful bid would put the Frenchman in a compromising position given he once accused clubs with wealthy backers of “financial doping”. Wenger has long championed Arsenal’s self-sustaining policy and the need for UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play regulations.