Kroenke 'close to Gunners takeover'

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Football News

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust have given a cautiously optimistic welcome to the news that Stan Kroenke is set to take a majority stake in the club.

The American billionaire is already the largest shareholder in the club, having compiled more than 29% of all shares, and it is understood he is close to agreeing to buy the stakes held by Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who each own 16%.

An announcement is expected as early as Monday and if he does acquire the additional holding, taking him over the 30% mark, Kroenke will be obliged to offer the market rate for the remaining shares - or around £11,500 per share.

Russian investor Alisher Usmanov, whose Red and White Holdings owns more than 27% of Arsenal's shares, has also been linked with taking a controlling interest in the past but could now opt to relinquish his shares to Kroenke.

The AST have good relations with Kroenke, who has also invested heavily in a variety of North American sporting franchises, but are eager for fans to retain a voice in any new ownership structure.

A statement given to Press Association Sport said: "AST thinks it is really important that supporters remain involved in Arsenal's ownership structure.

"Stan Kroenke has a good relationship with the AST and recently supported our fanshare scheme.

"We are hopeful of having discussions with him to discuss how our members and Arsenal supporters can keep their shares in Arsenal Football Club."

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

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