Arsenal Supporters' Trust urges Alisher Usmanov not to sell shares to Stan Kroenke
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 03/10/17 10:28pm
Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) has urged Alisher Usmanov not to sell his 30 per cent stake in the club to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.
Reports suggest Kroenke Sports Enterprise UK (KSE) is set to offer around £525m to buy the 18,695 shares held by Usmanov's Red and White Securities Limited.
While Usmanov has always stated he would not be willing to part with his stake in the Premier League club, the second largest individual shareholder has not been given a seat on the board and it appears unlikely that situation will change.
Russian businessman Usmanov has previously made a formal £1bn bid to buy Arsenal, which led to a statement from KSE in May 2017 re-affirming its position that the "shares are not, and never have been, for sale," adding Kroenke's organisation was "a committed, long-term investor in Arsenal and will remain so".
It is understood AST has already initiated contact with Usmanov's representatives, following recent reports he may now be set to sell up and will stress the importance of his role in providing accountability.
Should American Kroenke ultimately obtain Usmanov's significant stock, then the remaining minority shareholders, which includes the AST, have concerns over the possibility of Arsenal becoming a privately-owned company.
They would not, therefore, be required to hold an Annual General Meeting, the next of which is set for October 26.
A policy statement, published on the AST website in 2016, reads: "The AST continues to believe that Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one person.
"The best ownership model for Arsenal will always include supporters being represented and involved in the ownership structure as shareholders.
"We understand the reality that any stake in Arsenal is available to buy at any time should someone make an acceptable bid, but we will oppose any attempt to buy the club outright and take it into single ownership."