What happens when Alisher Usmanov’s sale of his shareholding to Stan Kroenke – reported earlier this morning – goes through?
The American will then own 97.11% of the club’s shares. We asked Phil Wall of the AST to outline what would happen next.
Arsenal have a number of small or individual shareholders who remain independent of both Kroenke and Usmanov. Under stock exchange rules, Kroenke has to make an offer for those shares:
PW: Everyone else has to be offered the same, or the highest price Kroenke has paid for a share in the last 12 months, which in this case is £28k, so slightly lower than the offer anyway.
At this point it’s not mandatory for those shareholders to accept that offer, however that would be only a temporary reprieve:
PW: Other shareholders can refuse, and some will, but with over 90% Kroenke can wait till the offer period is over and the dust settles, then apply to compulsorily purchase the remainder, on the grounds it’s better corporate governance as the tiny amount of shares held by others causes expense to a business but no benefits. So 3-6 months probably and he can get everyone’s shares and then re-register in Delaware.
With 100% of the shares, and Arsenal registered as a PLC in Delaware – where KSE is registered – any current trace of accountability or transparency would be gone.
❌ No AGM
❌ No public accounts
❌ No hindrance to Kroenke taking money out of the club via dividends or other ‘fees’
❌ No way of preventing Kroenke leveraging the value of Arsenal for other deals.
Although in their statement to the Stock Exchange, KSE explicitly state that the loan being taken from Deutsche Bank to fund the offer to Usmanov is not being funded by way of any debt finance, it’s still a major concern that any one man can have that much control over our football club, and once he has that control the loan could be paid off however he sees fit.
It’s a sad day for Arsenal. Perhaps inevitable because of the way football has been going for some years now, but sad nonetheless.