Arsenal: Kroenke Can’t Get Full Control

American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke looks as if he’ll have to settle for owning 62 percent of Arsenal after fellow shareholders decided not to accept his mandatory offer for their stakes in the English soccer club.

Kroenke was legally obliged to make an offer for the shares after buying the 16.1 percent owned by diamond trader Danny Fiszman, who died of throat cancer two days later, and the 15.9 percent owned by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

But Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has made it clear he’s not selling his 27 percent stake, despite that he would make a profit on selling, and the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust – one of a few minor stockholders – has voted to hang onto its shares as well.

“Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one man,” an AST spokesman explained.

Some UK media are reporting that Usmanov, who’s said to be worth more than $18 billion and was considered Kroenke’s rival for the ownership of Arsenal, is still keen to increase his holding and has just paid more than $115,000 for six shares in the club.

The upshot of Usmanov and the fans’ refusal to sell is that Kroenke won’t be able to bring Arsenal under anything even approximating single ownership. Kroenke also owns the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids.

It also prevents the club from being de-listed on the stock market and ensures that there will always be at least some amount of public oversight from minority shareholders, something that the supporters’ organisations were keen to maintain.