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Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 14:33 UK

Kroenke silent on Arsenal plans

Stan Kroenke at Arsenal
Kroenke owns several US sports clubs alongside his Arsenal stake

Arsenal's billionaire investor Stan Kroenke kept quiet when asked about plans for a takeover bid at the club's annual general meeting on Thursday.

United States sports magnate Kroenke owns nearly 29% of the Gunners' holding company, and must launch a formal takeover bid if that reaches 29.9%.

But Kroenke allowed chairman Peter Hill-Wood to answer in his stead.

"I don't think we are looking for a change in custodian," said Hill-Wood. "The club is in pretty good hands."

City financial regulations would compel any shareholder - such as Kroenke, or second-largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov - to launch a takeover bid once the threshold of a 29.9% stake is reached.

Kroenke's group are currently 646 shares short of that threshold, following a recent purchase of 90 shares for £765,000, at some £8,500 per share.

Any public statements against future bid intentions must be unambiguous, otherwise the individual or group would, under the Takeover Panel's rule 2.8, be prevented from making a formal move for six months.

"I believe Stan is happy to be a long-term shareholder in our club, but really it's not for me to say what his intentions are," added Hill-Wood.

"It is not something I can discuss publicly or even privately.

"We have a takeover panel breathing down our necks and I have to be very careful with what I say."

BBC Sport's Gordon Farquhar

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, celebrating his 60th birthday at the meeting, told shareholders he expected the club to bring a trophy to the Emirates Stadium for the first time this season.

"I know that we haven't won a trophy for four years but we were very close," he said.

"I believe that this year the team will do it, and when I say that, it is not to please you, it is because I am really convinced of it."

Arsenal's last silverware was the 2005 FA Cup, won while the club were based at Highbury.

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see also
Wenger at 60
22 Oct 09 |  Arsenal
Wenger 'needs to win silverware'
22 Oct 09 |  Arsenal
Kroenke buys more Arsenal shares
15 Oct 09 |  Business
Wenger excited by Arsenal future
05 Oct 09 |  Premier League

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