* Kroenke's offer worth 11,750 pounds per share
* Kroenke secures control of 63 percent of shares
* American compelled to make offer for remaining shares
* Manager Wenger welcomes takeover
(adds quotes, details)
By Matt Scuffham
LONDON, April 11 Arsenal is poised to become the
fifth Premier League club to have an American owner after sports
tycoon Stan Kroenke agreed a deal for a takeover that values the
soccer club at 731 million pounds ($1.2 billion).
Billionaire Kroenke, who already owns close to 30 percent of
the London club, said on Monday he had offered shareholders
11,750 pounds per share and had already secured the backing of
16.1 percent shareholder Danny Fiszman and 15.9 percent
shareholder Nina Bracewell-Smith.
He now controls 63 percent of Arsenal AFC.PZ and under
Takeover Panel rules is compelled to make an offer for the
Russian steel magnate Alisher Usmanov is the other major
shareholder, holding a 27 percent stake through his Red and
White vehicle which declined to comment on what his plans were.
The 63-year-old Kroenke, worth $2.9 billion in 2010
according to Forbes, already owns several U.S. sports teams,
including the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado
Avalanche, NFL team the St Louis Rams, and Major League Soccer
team the Colorado Rapids.
"Arsenal is a fantastic club with a special history and
tradition and a wonderful manager in Arsene Wenger," Kroenke,
who first made his fortune developing commercial and retail
properties, said in a statement.
"We intend to build on this rich heritage and take the club
to new success."
Arsenal, who are second in the Premier League behind
Manchester United, have gone six years without a trophy since
their FA Cup success in 2005.
The Gunners have 62 points from 31 league games and are
seven points behind United with a game in hand and they are also
still to host their rivals on May 1.
Fans have been frustrated as the 13-times English champions'
spending on players has lagged behind rivals such as Chelsea and
Manchester City and while it remains to be seen how much money
would be in the transfer pot, Wenger welcomed the takeover.
"I have worked with Stan Kroenke at board meetings over the
past couple of years and I believe he has the best interests of
Arsenal at heart," the Frenchman, who has managed the club since
1996, said in a statement on the club website (www.arsenal.com).
"He understands the club's heritage and traditions and our
ambition to run the club in a way which protects our long term
Chairman Peter Hill-Wood will remain in his position.
Bracewell-Smith, whose family had been involved in the club
for more than 70 years, issued a statement in support of
"I am confident of Arsenal's continued success both on and
off the pitch and believe that Stan Kroenke will continue to
develop the club in a manner true to its heritage for the
players and the fans," she said.
"We wish the club, the directors and the supporters every
success in the future. At the end of the day, our family will
always be gooners (Arsenal supporters)."
Four other Premier League clubs are owned by Americans --
Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Sunderland, while
Chelsea, Manchester City, Fulham, Birmingham City and Blackburn
Rovers also have foreign owners.
(Additional reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Rhys Jones and
Neil Maidment; To comment on this story: