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English Premiership

Kroenke close to takeover

LONDON, October 28 – United States businessman Stan Kroenke moved closer towards the threshold that would oblige him to launch a takeover bid for Arsenal after purchasing 10 more shares in the English Premier League club.EMIRATES_STADIUM_It was announced on Tuesday that the Denver-based Kroenke, already Arsenal’s largest individual shareholder, had increased his stake to 28.9 percent after buying 10 additional shares at a cost of some 85,000 pounds (138,712 dollars).

That followed his 765,000 pounds (1.249 million dollars) share purchase earlier this month and left Kroenke one percent short of the 29.9 percent mark which, under British company rules, would require him to launch a takeover of Arsenal.

At the London club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week, Kroenke remained silent when asked about his plans.

Gunners chairman Peter Hill-Wood intervened, pointing out that any public statements regarding future bid intentions must be unambiguous, otherwise the individual or group would, under the rules, be prevented from making a formal move for six months.

A statement issued Tuesday said: "On October 26 2009, Arsenal Holdings plc received notification that on October 26 2009 Stan Kroenke, a director of the company, acquired 10 ordinary shares of one pound each in the company at a price of 8,500 pounds per share.

"Taking into account such acquisition, Stan Kroenke has a beneficial interest in, and controls voting rights over, 17,967 ordinary shares in the company, representing 28.9 percent of the company’s issued ordinary shares."

Last week Hill-Wood tried to allay concerns about the future of the club by telling the AGM: "I don’t think we are looking for a change in custodian.

"I think you will find the club is in pretty good hands.

"I believe he (Kroenke) is happy to be a long-term shareholder in our club."

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