13 Apr 2011

Arsenal supporters told not to sell shares

8:55 am on 13 April 2011

Arsenal supporters who own shares in the English football club are being told not to sell to American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who this week agreed a takeover deal.

In a statement the Arsenal Supporters Trust and Arsenal Fanshare scheme say they'll not be selling the shares it owns and urges all supporters to reject the offer.

Billionaire Kroenke, who already owns close to 30 percent of the London club, said this week he had offered shareholders 24 thousand dollars per share and had already secured the backing of 17 percent shareholder Danny Fiszman and 16 percent shareholder Nina Bracewell-Smith.

The American now controls 63 percent of Arsenal and under Takeover Panel rules is compelled to make an offer for the remaining shares.

Russian steel magnate Alisher Usmanov is the other major shareholder, holding a 27 percent stake through his Red and White vehicle which has so far declined to comment on what his plans are.

More than 100 members who attended an AST meeting in London on Monday voted unanimously for the trust to continue its campaign for supporters to remain in the club's ownership structure.

The 63-year-old Kroenke, worth 3.7 billion dollars in 2010 according to Forbes, already owns several U.S. sports teams including the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, NFL team the St Louis Rams and Major League Soccer team the Colorado Rapids.