Kroenke edges towards takeover

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Football News

American Stan Kroenke has made another purchase of 10 Arsenal shares to move a small step closer to the takeover threshold.

Kroenke's latest acquisition, at a cost of some £85,000, continues the trend of picking up stock at regular intervals, recently buying 100 from chairman Peter Hill-Wood, yet without making a formal bid for overall control at the Barclays Premier League club.

A statement to the PLUS Market, where Arsenal's parent holding company are listed, read: "On 20th November 2009, Arsenal Holdings plc (the "Company") received notification that on 19th November 2009 Stan Kroenke, a director of the Company, acquired 10 ordinary shares of £1.00 each in the Company at a price of £8,500 per share."

He added: "Taking into account such acquisition, Stan Kroenke has a beneficial interest in, and controls voting rights over, 18,604 ordinary shares in the Company, representing 29.9% of the Company's issued ordinary shares."

Under the strict financial rules of the City, were Kroenke - who owns the Denver Nuggets basketball team - to cross the 29.99% takeover threshold, with around 62 more shares, he would be obliged to make a formal offer for the remainder of the shares at the highest price paid for stock during the past 12 months, which was £10,500 in May.

However, shareholders would not be forced to sell, and so after the offer had been made, if Kroenke, already on the Arsenal board, was not able to reach 50%, then he could not return to make another takeover offer for 12 months, unless invited to do so by the company.

It has been suggested Kroenke's continued steady investment is designed to fend off possible aggressive moves by Russian Alisher Usmanov, whose Red & White Holdings have just over 25% of the club.

Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who left the board during December last year, could well hold the balance of power with her family's 15.9% stake, which if sold to either Kroenke or Usmanov would push both well past the takeover threshold.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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