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Stan Kroenke set for Arsenal takeover deal


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Stan Kroenke is poised to launch a full takeover of Arsenal after agreeing deals to buy shares owned by Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

American businessman Kroenke already owns 29.9% of the north London club.

BBC Sport understands that he is to acquire the 16.1% owned by Fiszman and Lady Bracewell-Smith's 15.9% stake for about ?11,000 a share, or ?225m.

That will give Kroenke 62% plus control of the club and means he must offer to buy out all the remaining shareholders.

At that price, Arsenal have a market value in the region of ?750m. With them carrying debts of ?147m, the deals value the club at ?900m.

The Gunners are the only one of the Premier League's top four teams not currently under outright foreign ownership.

Kroenke, 63, is also the owner of Kroenke Sports Enterprises in the United States.

The company controls the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, NFL team the St Louis Rams, and Major League Soccer outfit the Colorado Rapids.

The man with the second largest Arsenal shareholding is Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, with just over 27%.

Unlike Kroenke, however, he does not have a seat on the board at the Emirates Stadium.

Usmanov has previously called for Arsenal to invest heavily on the pitch to end their six-year trophy drought.

However, the club's board of directors have steered a more cautious financial path.

They have focused on using the additional income generated by the 60,300-capacity Emirates, which opened in July 2006, to lower Arsenal's debts.

Some supporters have complained this has limited the funds available to manager Arsene Wenger to make top-quality signings.

But the Frenchman has long preferred to buy younger, cheaper players whom he can mould for his style of play.

His team are second in the Premier League, seven points behind leaders Manchester United. Arsenal's last won the title in 2004.

Gunners fans have become frustrated by the team's lack of silverware in recent seasons, and the Arsenal Supporters Trust extended a cautious welcome to news of Kroenke's takeover move.

"Stan Kroenke has a good relationship with the AST and recently supported our Fanshare scheme," it said in a statement.

"We are hopeful of having discussions with him on how our members and Arsenal supporters can keep their shares in Arsenal FC."

The Fanshare initiative was launched by the AST in August 2010 to enable fans to buy small fractions of full shares at an affordable price.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/arsenal/9453736.stm

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