On Monday, KSE, UK, INC announced an offer for Arsenal Holdings PLC.
We spoke to the Club's Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, to find out more. Read the transcript of our interview below or watch a FREE video clip by clicking the image above.
Ivan, what are we announcing today and why has this come about?
Today we’re announcing that Mr Stan Kroenke’s company, KSE, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, has an agreement to acquire the shares that are held by Danny Fiszman and the Bracewell-Smith family. Together those comprise about 32% of the Club. And that holding, in addition to the holding that Mr. Kroenke already has in the Club, would take him up to around 62%. The takeover code requires, when he reaches that percentage, that he then makes a bid for the rest of the shares in the company. And that’s the offer that is being announced today.
What is the Board’s view on the offer?
The Board has been advised by our financial advisors Rothschild and has set up an independent committee to review the offer. We’ve looked at the price that is being offered and have concluded that it is a fair and reasonable price. And we’ve also looked at the confirmations that have been given by KSE as to the way that Arsenal will be run. And in light of all of those factors we have decided that we are recommending the offer to shareholders.
What impact will the announcement have on the running of Arsenal Football Club?
Mr Kroenke has confirmed that there will not be debt finance that depends on the business of Arsenal. He’s also confirmed that he will continue with the self-sustaining business model that has achieved success for Arsenal. He’s also been on the Board, remember, for the last three years, so this is not a new presence at the Club. It lends stability and continuity. So I don’t think there will be a tremendous change in the way that the Club has been run. And we’re looking forward to Mr Kroenke bringing also his sports experience to the table. As you know, he’s a long term owner in sports teams in the United States. His current football team, or soccer team, in the United States the Colorado Rapids are the current Major League soccer champions. And he’s had success across his different sports businesses so I think that we can anticipate that this will be a positive deal.
What will happen to the manager?
Well, as you know Arsène’s under a long term contract at the Club, that contract runs until 2014. And Mr Kroenke’s very supportive of Arsène Wenger. As he said in his statement, he’s a wonderful manager, so we’re looking forward to Arsène’s continued contributions to the Club.
What will happen next, and how do shareholders accept the offer, if they wish to do so?
If shareholders wish to accept the offer, there will be an offer document that you can access through Arsenal.com and that will set out all the terms and conditions of the offer. If you have a look on Arsenal.com you’ll be able to get full details of that and the process from here on out.
This is the end of an era. How do you feel about that?
Well, it’s the end of an era but it’s also the beginning of an era. I don’t think there will be dramatic changes involved. Mr Kroenke has stated that he’s supportive of the self sustaining business model. He’s been on the Board, remember, for the last three years and has a good understanding of the traditions of this Club and what it represents to our fans. So I don’t think we will see dramatic changes. At the same, I do think that Mr Kroenke brings experience in the sports arena. He’s got tremendous experience in the United States and also experience now over here in England.
And finally Ivan, what’s the focus from now?
Well the focus now of course is always on the pitch. We’ve got seven games to go this season, we’re looking forward to Liverpool this weekend. Our fans richly deserve success and we’ll be working very hard right across the Club to try to deliver that this year.