Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Kroenke's Arsenal stake now 29.6%

Stan Kroenke at Arsenal
Mr Kroenke also owns a number of US sports clubs

Arsenal director Stan Kroenke has moved nearer to the stage when he would have to make an offer for the entire stockholding of the club.

The US billionaire has bought another 427 shares in Arsenal's holding company, at a cost of £3.6m ($5.86m), taking his shareholding to 29.6%.

He bought the shares at £8,500 each, which values the club at about £529m.

He is nearing the 29.99% threshold, beyond which he would be forced to make an offer for the remaining shares.

'Flirts'

Mr Kroenke acquired more stock from the estate of the late British industrialist Ernest Harrison.

"I do not know what Kroenke will do," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"All I know is the rules, that if he gets to 30%, he has to make a bid for the club. At the moment, he flirts with the 30, but is not there.

"I do not know what his intentions are, I have not spoken to him about it.

TAKEOVER GUIDELINES
Once someone reaches a 30% shareholding in a company they are deemed by the Takeover Panel to have "effective control" of the firm and must then make an offer for the remaining shares
The price offered cannot be lower than the highest price the offerer has paid for shares in the firm in the previous 12 months
If, after the offer has been made, the offerer has more than 50% of the shares they are deemed to have been successful in their takeover and legally in control
If an offer is unsuccessful and the 50% shareholding level is not breached then the offerer cannot come back with another takeover attempt for 12 months, unless invited to do so by the company

"Inside the club, on a daily basis, it does not change anything," said the Gunners' boss ahead of Wednesday's Champions League game with AZ Alkmaar at the Emirates Stadium.

At Arsenal's annual general meeting at the Emirates Stadium on 22 October, Mr Kroenke was asked what his intentions were for the north London club.

But he chose not to speak to the gathered shareholders, with chairman Peter Hill-Wood intervening.

Mr Hill-Wood pointed out that under takeover rules any public statements regarding future bid intentions must be unambiguous, otherwise the individual concerned would be prevented from making a formal takeover move for six months.

Mr Kroenke, who owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rapids MLS football team, has been gradually increasing his stake in Arsenal this year through a number of different share purchases.

As well as Mr Kroenke, the other major shareholders are Uzbeki tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who holds a stake of about 25%, Danny Fiszman, and Lady Bracewell-Smith.

'Plurality'

According to the Arsenal Supporters' Trust, roughly 13% of the club's shares are held by small shareholders.

After Mr Kroenke's latest share purchase was announced, the fans' group said: "While the AST welcome Stan Kroenke's involvement, we agree with the sentiment of Peter Hill-Wood's statement at the most recent AGM that there is no need for any shareholder to launch a takeover of the club."

It added: "The AST believes in plurality of ownership."

The statement continued: "The AST has a good relationship with both Stan Kroenke and members of his team at Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE).

"We have stressed to them the importance of custodianship and that the club will be stronger if it has supporters directly involved in its ownership model.

"While we cannot vouch for their future actions, we are encouraged that they have said they see the AST having an important role to play at Arsenal."



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