Monday, September 17, 2007

Huge Arsenal Turnover Prompts Arsenal Takeover

Arsenal have overtaken both Chelsea and Manchester United to become the second richest football club in the world, behind only Real Madrid. The move to the Emirates stadium is said to be responsible for £190 million gunners turnover for the 2006/07 season.

With the most expensive tickets in the Premiership, it is not too startling that Arsenal earn a massive
£3.5 million a match at the 60,432 seat Emirates.

In such a successful club, it is unsurprising to hear that investors are willing to buy more shares. It should come as no surprise then that nearly perfectly coinciding with the announcement of Arsenal's turnover, came talk of an Arsenal takeover.

Alisher Usmanov's investment company, Red and White Holdings, recently bought David Dein's 14.58% share of the club, already prompting takeover talks. Usmanov has since then been buying small quantities of Arsenal shares, snapping up 271 shares soon after buying David Dein's holdings. Now it seems that he has bought more than 3% more of Arsenal's shares, bringing his total ownership to more than 18%, making him the second largest stockholder behind only Danny Fiszman.

Fiszman has declared (along with the rest of the Arsenal board) that he will not sell his 24% stake in the club, and the total holdings of the board (44%) will make it difficult for a hostile takeover to come through. However, Fiszman is not averse to meeting with Kroenke or Usmanov.

However, American businessman Stan Kroenke who owns a 12% stake in Arsenal could join forces with Usmanov, bringing their total ownership to 40%, enough to be obliged to launch a formal takeover bid.

Personally, I think that we are a financially stable club, and with Arsene Wenger's frugal hand in the transfer market, I can't see how a takeover would benefit us. Let's hope these takeover talks don't come true - we don't want foreign ownership like Manchester United and Chelsea.