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Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns


Picking Pockets?

By Boris Mellor
April 12 2011

A standing room only meeting of the Arsenal Supporters Trust was united in calling on all shareholders to hold onto their shares in the best interest of the club. The trigger for Kroenke’s sudden, but not unexpected, takeover was the fact that he was able to acquire Danny Fiszman’s and Nina Bracewell Smith’s shares taken his holdings up to 62%.

According to the Guardian Fiszman is seriously ill, and his sons are not interested in the guardianship of the club. Allegedly, Usamanov (Red and White Holding) offered Lady Nina £13,000 a share but she preferred silent Stan’s £11,750. Whether this was out of loyalty or due to a binding agreement is not clear.

 

It is expected that a whole host of Arsenal names will be selling shares to Stan; Friar, Carr, PHW, Chips Whatshisname, Lord Harris of Carpets. However, AST believe that Red and White Holdings will keep their holdings for the present. The so called Russian has a fortune of $18 billion, and probably has more money down the back of his sofa than the £240 million he would get if he sold up.

 

AST finds itself in the strange position of hoping that Red and White, and, not so strangely, small share holders will not sell up. Those worried about if this is the last time they could sell their shares shouldn’t worry said one member from the floor, the AST will always buy them.

 

Clarification Kroenke is the owner

There has been a lot of rubbish talked in the media, firstly the shares are not quoted on the LSE, they are on PLUS. Secondly yes Stan has to make an offer to all shareholders to buy their shares, but if no one sells it doesn’t change the fact that he will be the majority holder and will appoint the board and run the club from top to bottom. Even if his holding stays at 62% he will be the new majority owner, albeit with minority shareholders who he can involve or ignore at will.

 

All Change and No Change

 

Kroenke has stated he will keep the present board and manager, and  that he has no intention of changing them. That may be the case in the short term the long term could prove very different. He has also expressed his confidence in Arsene Wenger. Unlike the member who compared the great man to Hosni Mubarak, saying he was out of touch with ordinary fans. This was greeted with giggling, but fans wanted to discuss ownership not the manager. It is also likely that Gazides and Tom Fox are really Kroenke’s men, so he has a good deal of commercial control already.

 

Contrary to press reports Kroenke has, according to the AST, signed an agreement that he will not pay for the shares by taking out loans against the club. Apparently this promise is in a 90 page document outlining the offer. Gazides has intimated that he still wants to work with AST and still supports shared ownership.

 

 The AST welcomed the opportunity to continue working with the club, but the key value of the AST remains, shared ownership, and that is why the vote to call on shareholders not to sell was passed unanimously.

 

Kroenke cannot buy out everyone unless he has 90% of all shares, it is unlikely that he wants to, or can achieve, that figure. Ironically we could all be dependent on Red and White Holdings to keep their shares or we could end up with a middle eastern mixed grill. One chicken and one camel, I am told it’s hard to taste the chicken.

 

David Conn The Guardian Disagrees on Funding Guarantee and Custodianship

 David Conn disagrees that Kroenke's promises are a real guarantee, he doesn’t believe there are any guarantees that debt finance could not happen.

“Kroenke stated that the £239m he is paying Fiszman, Bracewell-Smith, Hill-Wood and the other Arsenal directors will not be funded "by way of any debt finance … which will depend on the business of Arsenal". Tom Hicks and George Gillett made a very similar claim in their 2007 offer to buy Liverpool but then, in Gillett's words, "circumstances changed". The pair took millions out of the club in order to pay the interest on their own borrowings.

There are no guarantees. Nor does it appear Kroenke intends to put money into Arsenal itself, only to pay his millions to the outgoing shareholders. That is what all yesterday's talk of the "self-sustaining business model" means – that Arsenal will run on what the fans pay over, for the £100 seats and other pricy tickets. Kroenke himself will not be contributing.”

Conn is a highly respected Football and Financial Journalist, his view on this needs consideration. He concludes “The American may indeed turn out to be a long-term, competent owner of this club of grand tradition. He may not turn a quick fortune for his Delaware holding company. But the word "custodian" is being debased and its principles need to be reclaimed.” The full article is here .

It’s ironic that Hill Wood will pick up £4.7 million for his family shareholding, which is almost the same amount a 6% season ticket price hike will raise. should we pass a vote of thanks to the board for selling out to Kroenke? Perhaps the money they have made is thanks enough?

 

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Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Arsenal Times (IP Logged)
12/04/2011 09:05
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2011:04:16:14:58:26 by Padre Pio.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
djarse (IP Logged)
12/04/2011 17:17
It makes me sad and uncomfortable that the club has finally become a plaything for a billionaire - like the other top Premiership clubs. I'm aware that the previous owners were petty rich too so I guess it's the symbolism of it all. The club should really be about its fans, not which rich benefactor you can get to own you.

I have no great confidence that it will necessarily lead to any improvement on the transfers/players front either. Kroenke is a ruthless billionaire first, second and third and an Arsenal supporter way further down the list.

Surely there must be some other demands we can make on the Board ? Lobby for greater support involvement and say in running the club. Increasingly there are clubs in Leagues 1 & 2 where supporters have significant influence. Isn't this period of transition to new ownership the right time to start talking about this ?

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
12/04/2011 17:33
the Arsenal Suporters Trust is not radical, but it does involve itself in the clubs affairs. It lobbies over prices and other issues, and runs fanshare. Its a pity we didnt start fanshare years ago, as we have got a half million stake in less than a year.
If we had woken up to it 20 years ago we would have a far bigger stake by now.

Kroenke apparently says he will consult the AST, but no doubt it will be wallpaper. But I think fans who care should join AST. Its a pity nothing ahs been heard of Red Action during all this, too busy hating Usmanov



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Jonny Bravo (IP Logged)
13/04/2011 00:57
Good article Padre..Few days on from this news broke Iam still at a loss to what Kronke's takeover will mean long term.

While I agree with fan ownership should have been idealy the way foward, when a powerfull business tycoon like Kronke has acquired such a domimating sharholding in the club there is little scope for real fan input.

I think back to the strong opposition United fans voiced when Murdoch tried to buy United back in the 1990's, and yet ironicaly the man they all worship (Fergie) was essentialy the catalyst for the Glazer's taking over.

All the banners, marches and Norwich scarves hanvt done sqaut to force the Glazer's out and while United are winning and the stadium full the fickleness of fans will keep the disquiet down.

Time will reveal all but I dont reckon I wont be stiching together a "In Stan We trust" flag just yet.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
eduardo (IP Logged)
13/04/2011 01:04
ast had no power before the takeover and have none now, 3% of shares mean nothing, jeez usmanov has 27% shares and has np real power, so its deluded to think ast can have any impact for forseeable future. Actually when did any small shareholders of fans groups last have, if ever, any real input into how Arsenal, or any top flight english club was or is run.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
13/04/2011 07:49
I think we should all roll over and let stan tickle our tummy.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
13/04/2011 23:03
It is surprising how small groups can affect things, its how they relate to larger numbers that counts.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Philly the kid (IP Logged)
14/04/2011 21:53
Quote:
Padre Pio
I think we should all roll over and let stan tickle our tummy.
(Sm6)

Quote:
Padre Pio
It is surprising how small groups can affect things, its how they relate to larger numbers that counts.
Let's hope so then!!

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
14/04/2011 22:22
Well we have an alliance that is blocking total takeover. True we cant depend on Usmanov, but it gives us time to build up a more solid alliance



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
eduardo (IP Logged)
14/04/2011 22:25
need 11% or close to it, only have 3% so not something that can easily be achieved, or likely to be achieved, AST need to get most of the rest of the small shareholders to join them

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
14/04/2011 23:53
we already have, several members have shares so in all it controls about 9% if we get another 1% we are solid.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
eduardo (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 00:17
are you sure padre, its my understanding that AST only have 3%, another 6% or so is in hands of small shareholders who are not memebers of AST, its even estimated that about half of that 6% is not in anyones hands,(shares that have not been passed on when someone died, and or in hands of people who don't know or care they have them etc)

also is there actually an alliance with usmanov or just similar decision not to sell

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 00:25
not sure that all of 6% can be depended on, but quite a few are members of AST. No not an alliance with Usmanov, but his people do speak to AST and made it clear from beginning that he his not selling, I have said that since the beginning. doesnt mean that he can be trusted, or that he wont sell if it suits him.
AST officially support him having a place on the board, its an unofficial unholy alliance.

As I said before if we had started fanshare 10 years ago we might have reached 30%. But no reason to stop now, we still may be able to pick up shares from people who dont want to sell to Kroenke and Usmanov.

I think Red Action are making a mistake keeping quiet - they are blinded by hatred of Usmanov. I hate him too, but needs must when the devil drives



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
eduardo (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 00:29
why are AST backing him for a spot on the board, what is the reasoning for that, especially when one of his stated aims is for a dividend to be paid each year

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 00:35
because their overiding principle is plural ownership. they also oppose dividends. If was on board he could be outvoted on that.
But joint ownership is the most important thing



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
eduardo (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 01:04
hasn't kroenke also stated he wants plural ownership.

if usmanov got on the board is there not more chance that through working with other stan and usmanov would become friendly and end up one selling up to the other. Is it not better to keep usmanov away from the board as much as possilbe so that the ill feeling he has for them would mean he would refuse to ever sell to stan

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
SandyB (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 03:43
Quote:
why are AST backing him for a spot on the board, what is the reasoning for that, especially when one of his stated aims is for a dividend to be paid each year

It's laughable that an 18 billion man..who's dynasty is in steel, oil and commodity business is in Arsenal for dividends..I don't know who makes you believe that. Personally, I don't like this battle of the billionaires where the battlefield is too small..if he could think of putting his 200 million to sleep potentially might be for ever..dividends will be the least of his concerns..Eduardo.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 11:51
We have to keep up opposition to both, its a rock and a hard place. Neither are the solution, fan ownership is only true solution, but thats not about to happen



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
SandyB (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 19:41
Link

This is what I was talking about..I think this is the reason Usmanov wants to hold on..

Quote:
However, in addition to the possibility of using dividends, Kroenke will have access to Arsenal's unrestricted cash reserve, which is approaching £100m. Another £40m cannot be touched due to restrictions under Arsenal's banking agreements.

Personally, I don't think using dividends to financing the loan is an issue..it's a bit of overstatement anyone could just use dividends to finance the loan..the turnover isn't anything close to that big.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
15/04/2011 19:58
thats the point - thats why Arsenal Supporters trust dont want a sole owner. Usmanov could block some important things, and that ironically would be a good thing



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Bergmars (IP Logged)
16/04/2011 09:15
I thought there was some ruling that only allowed you to do that if 75% was involved.



DB10,the best.

 
Re: Fans United Say No Further Sale of Shares Conn Concerns
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
16/04/2011 10:16
Capital restructuring requires 75% so 26% can defeat that



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

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