Kroenke increases Arsenal stake to 28.58%

  • Business
  • Saturday, 11 Jul 2009

LONDON: American businessman Stan Kroenke has strengthened his position at Arsenal by increasing his stake in the Premier League club.

Already Arsenal's biggest shareholder, the 61-year-old director spent 1.36 million pounds ($2.21 million) raising his holding to 28.58 percent from 28.3, the club announced Friday.

Kroenke is approaching the 30-percent threshold that triggers a mandatory offer for the remaining shares.

The next largest shareholder is Uzbekistan-born billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who owns just more than 25 percent of the club through investment vehicle Red and White Holdings but is not on the club board.

In a further undermining of Usmanov, Arsenal announced Wednesday that the board had rejected his proposals to raise 60 million pounds through a rights issue to strengthen the squad and reduce the club's debt.

Usmanov responded by doubting whether Arsenal has the financial resources to produce a team that can win the club's first trophy since 2005.

"Based on financial information that only they have, the board have informed us that they are confident they have adequate financial resources to support the manager to strengthen the squad, to weather the property downturn, to renegotiate the Highbury Square loan on good terms and to deal with the continuing difficult economic conditions," said Red & White Holdings.

"We do not share their view but are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment."

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis insisted the policy of self-financing remained "very efficient."

Kroenke also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer. - AP

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