Arsenal set for 1.5bn takeover from Middle East consortium

We'll bid record 1.5bn for Arsenal (twice as much as the Glazers paid for United)… but they MUST finish top four, say Arab consortium

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

22:32 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:48 GMT, 3 March 2013

Arsenal's eagerly-anticipated north London derby with Tottenham on Sunday was given an added edge with reports that a Middle East consortium will launch a 1.5billion takeover bid for the club in the next few weeks.

The group, made up of investors from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, hope to tempt owner Stan Kroenke with the world record sum, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

But the group warned that Arsenal, currently fifth in the Premier League and three points behind fourth-placed Spurs, must act quickly amid fears that the club miss out on a Champions League place and fall into a cycle of decline like Liverpool.

Money talks: World record takeover would put Arsenal in the same financial league as Manchester City and PSG

Money talks: World record takeover would put Arsenal in the same financial league as Manchester City and PSG

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

Prize asset: Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

American Kroenke is the club's majority shareholder, while Uzbek Alisher Usmanov also holds a significant stake.

The offer for Arsenal would reportedly see the potential investors bid around 20,000 per share, making Kroenke's holding worth 830m.

It would be the world’s biggest ever bid for a football club, dwarfing the 800m paid by the Glazers for Manchester United.

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke

Alisher Usmanov an Arsenal shareholder

Money men: Owner Stan Kroenk (left) and majority shareholder Alisher Usmanov (right)

Big fans: The consortium want Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to stay on

Big fans: The consortium want Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to stay on

A meeting has already been reportedly been requested with the American to discuss the proposed
offer. The seriousness of the bid is reinforced by the recent successful
takeovers of Manchester City and Paris St-Germain by Middle East backers.

It is unlikely Usmanov will want to sell his shareholding, given his 'dream' of taking control of Arsenal himself, but the Middle East consortium
believes it will be able to work with the billionaire, who does not
currently have a seat on the board.

Any takeover would inevitably raise questions over the future of manager
Arsene Wenger but the Frenchman is understood to be highly-regarded by
the consortium.

A bid source was quoted as saying: 'Arsenal is at a pivotal position at
the moment. The fear is that the club is facing a cycle of decline like
Liverpool. From our point of view it is the perfect moment to make this bid
because at this moment in time you can still genuinely justify this
extraordinary valuation on the club.

'We will not bid for Arsenal if they go into decline. Kroenke and Usmanov will
not get this kind of valuation if Arsenal do not succeed and will not get
this kind of valuation ever again.

'The amount of capital required to pump into Arsenal to make it competitive
within England, Europe and the world means that the valuation cannot go any
higher.'