£1.5 billion Bid For Arsenal? What’s The Truth & What Difference Does It Make?

So apparently a Middle-East consortium is prepared to bid £1.5 billion for Arsenal, according to two separate ‘exclusives’ in the Telegraph and Sun on Sunday.

Let’s look at the headline figures first. They reckon the offer is £20k a share, which would give Stan Kroenke £831m for his 41,581 shares – which as I worked out in November would be a profit of £400m.

The papers should really be crediting me with working out Stan’s profit, because none of them have ever done it, so where did they get their figures from? The figures that coincidentally match mine.

Never mind. Alisher Usmanov as we know currently admits to having 18,645 shares, which would be worth £373m at £20k each, but he’s unlikely to care much about that.

At £20k a share the whole share issue of 62,217 shares is worth £1.24434 billion, so they’re adding on the debt of £200-odd million and doing a bit of rounding up to make £1.5 billion. But of course the only thing that would matter here is how much Stan would be getting, because either he sells or he doesn’t sell, and if he doesn’t want to nothing’s changed.

Second question: is this genuine new interest in Arsenal, or a cover for something else?

These unnamed would-be investors are apparently willing to work with Alisher Usmanov. Does that mean anything? Not really. If it’s genuine they’d say that anyway, no point rubbing him up the wrong way, and if it’s not genuine then it’s quite possibly a bit of ground-laying work by Usmanov anyway.

Mr Usmanov, as I said above, admits to having 29.96% of Arsenal shares. He’s long-coveted a 30% shareholding, though as I’ve explained in previous blogs the good reasons for that have largely disappeared. Despite the absence of good reasons, he’s continued to buy shares since last summer, until he is just 21 short of his target. But – get this – reliable sources tell me he’s now stopped buying. So:

a)      He’s given up wanting to own Arsenal – which seems unlikely

b)      He’s got the extras lined up and is just waiting for the ‘right time’ to declare he has reached 30%, for whatever perverse reason he has

c)      He’s up to something else – like inventing Middle-East consortiums and leaking takeover bids to national newspapers

As I say, a) is unlikely, b) is highly likely, but b) being true doesn’t preclude the truth of c). If this whole story is concocted by Usmanov’s people then I can’t quite see what the purpose is, unless he wants to know whether the Arsenal fanbase would prefer a different billionaire to either him or Stan. A Scooby-Doo moment of the Qataris or whoever taking over, then their leader ripping off a mask to reveal it was Usmanov all along would be most amusing.

Moving on. What difference would it make to Arsenal anyway? As FFP is on the way, would that prevent a new owner splashing the cash in a Man City-like manner? Short answer is yes, probably. I published a guest blog recently explaining the FFP position for the big English clubs, and in summary Arsenal will have trouble justifying spending much more on wages unless they can genuinely increase income somehow.

There will be some increase in commercials soon as a result of new TV deals, but of course everyone is getting that, so Arsenal have no advantage. There should also be much better kit and shirt sponsor deals, but personally I’m not convinced they’ll be mega-deals. The Arsenal commercial team don’t fill me with that much confidence.

Also note that the would-be investors have apparently said (in a shameless attempt to court favour with hardcore fans) that ticket prices would be reduced. Well, if they reduce ticket prices, genuine matchday income goes down so the club can spend less on wages than before! Guess we may not be getting Messi after all, though I can see things getting messy in the Boardroom this summer.

Many are cynical about whether FFP will work, but indications are that it’s already making a difference to the behaviour of Man City and Chelsea. Uefa will put everything into getting it to work, so unless there is a breakaway European league, there will be an effect. The only question is exactly how much of an effect, and how many loopholes clubs can find. But it is certain that if Man City were starting their journey right now they’d be a lot less likely to be Champions than starting when they did.

Arsenal are in a much better position than City were, of course, so less is needed. It might be possible to do enough to make Arsenal Champions again, but we won’t see money thrown around like City did.

Next question: If it’s NOT Usmanov, would Usmanov also sell if Kroenke did? I wouldn’t want him to, because for reasons I’ve explained before, I don’t want a single owner of Arsenal. A majority owner is bad enough, but with one person in charge the club becomes a toy. My gut feel is that Usmanov wouldn’t sell; I don’t think he likes to be beaten.

Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5          


16 thoughts on “£1.5 billion Bid For Arsenal? What’s The Truth & What Difference Does It Make?

  1. Brilliantly put. If it were as simple as offering a large amount of money to tempt Stan surely Uzmanov would have done it, or at least inquired about it? The thought of a Sugardaddy in charge of AFC makes me soil myself with fear, ideally this is option B and things transpire that it is Uzmanov that is in control. But I’m doing my best not to even think about this, when we have the most satisfying 3 points of the season up for grabs tomorrow. Come on you gunners!

  2. I think it’s probably Usmanov getting together with Piers Morgan to make a Middle-East consortium. But this can only be good for Arsenal, especially if the takeover happens before the FFP really kicks in.

  3. very informative and thought provoking. new to reading blogs but yours is definitely one I like and would suggest to fellow gooners. cheers

  4. The Arsenal brand is recognised world wide. Thanks to Wenger the gunners have gone into decline the last 7 years.His refusal to change with the times be it player purchases or tactics is a big problem.As a manager you have to adapt or evolve with the football changing landscape.Ffrankly he has outlived his usefulness.IF he can’t get 4th,he shd b off. As repeatedly said he has been making the same errors in judgement. No more time shd be given to him .

    • one of the biggest ironies in football- Wenger changed the game when he arrived, and now the game has left him behind… sad, really. much father have a happy ending..

  5. It’s really difficult to wrap my head around this one. As a club if we don’t resort to selling players we actually lose money if I’m notmistaken, so it’s difficult to see how we would qualify for FFP even with our debt eliminated if they were to reduce ticket prices.
    Although in the article they insinuated they wanted to recreate the old North Bank so maybe those tickets will be reduced? – speculation
    My other thought was that if SS declines the offer as expected & the club continues selling off its best players, the Emirates might be on fire by the time next season starts.

  6. If we splashed out on two world class players, you could argue it’d win us the league. Likes of Chelsea, City & PSG have spend copious amounts more just to become competitive before they won trophies. I’d have no shame in wanting the Qatari’s in providing we can garuntee the board remains full of people who care about the club.
    As a side note, shouldn’t the commercial be sacked or something? Paul Merson says we’re the worst team in the country without the ball but if argue we’re the worst team in the country for getting value for money commercially

  7. The latest by Wenger is judge him by performance.Well he has a chance to make the critics eat their words by beating Spurs.Failure to do so will backfire on him. Frankly his tactical naivety is causing Arsenal dearly especially in the big games aginst Chelsea and MU ,both in the epl and cl.
    If Bale is not contained and scores the winner,what more have gunner fans got to say. He has really lost it tactically.Of course fans wish to be pleasantly surprised.

    • If we were judging Wenger by his performances he would have been sacked years ago as he has not cut it at top flight for 7 yrs now.
      You actually think 1 result can make up for years of failure?

  8. I highly doubt Kroenke will sell. I’m sure Usmanov has offered to buy his shares behind the scene which Stan probably turned down. I personally would rather have Usmanov as the owner than some Arabs because Usmanov is a true Gooner and would make a decent owner.

  9. Could be made up by stans camp? Maybe he’s realised he’s had enough and wants to start a bidding war. Get some interest elsewhere and make usmanov bid if he’s really interested.

  10. Usmanov was never serious, with his financial muscle he could’ve easily brought the shares but he pussy footed around so I don’t take him seriously, the Mansours tried to buy Arsenal so there is Arab interest in Arsenal only because of London and the Arabs have a lot of commercial interests in London so it only makes sense and like you pointed out the European super league isn’t far away with this FFP system coming in Also Arsenal have the properties surrounding the Emirates which is far more valuable than selling shirts and no doubt a television station will soon be coming hence making Sky( Utd tv) redundant .. I’m pretty optimistic that Arsenals commercial interest lies in other areas rather than shirts and ticket sells

    Love your articles


    Sent from my iPhone

  11. Can’t really see any truth in these so-called reports, so it really ought to get the coverage that it deserves, which is none. 😉

  12. Well your article really got the Wenger-haters and demeaning trolls out in force. They are, as usual off topic and vomiting the usual Wenger out excrement they pick up from the yellow media.
    I see Usmanov’s treacherous hand behind this ¨rumour¨ and give it little credence. He desperately wants to destabilise the BoD and the Club with targeted attacks (his letters, his statements, etc.) and in doing so, bate the minority plastic fanboys (like those above)who want managerial and management changes regardless of the consequences (which they have no ability to fathom anyway).
    As always, be careful what you wish for…..the rules are changing as are the times…it may no longer be an ideal world for big-cash Football sugardaddies and oilygarchs in the EPL or worldwide for that matter.

  13. My believe is that stan is not a through gunners,and he only want 2 put the club in a dileama.so let give the arab investor the chance 2 spend big money.because d meaning of money means alot.Money says!Many shall die becos of me,On me shall every body depend,None shall exist without me, Engage me in everything,Yet i am the root of all sins. M O N E Y.So spend big so dat u can win big.GUNNERS 4 LIFE.

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