Spotify founder Daniel Ek reveals he DID make an offer to buy Arsenal and remains interested after it was rejected, with the club’s owners saying they ‘didn’t need the money’
- Spotify founder Daniel Ek has revealed he made an approach to Arsenal
- Arsenal denied on Saturday that a takeover bid was made but Ek said otherwise
- The billionaire has been backed by former players including Thierry Henry
- Ek said Arsenal told him they don’t need the money but remains interested
The intrigue over potential bids for Arsenal and the future of ownership of Stan Kroenke took a dramatic twist on Saturday night after Spotify founder Daniel Ek insisted that he had made a substantial bid for the club and planned to include fan ownership as part of the future structure.
It is understood that Swedish billionaire Ek has engaged a bank, submitted the bid last week and that it has been delivered to Kroenke’s company KSE and to vice chairman Josh Kroenke.
The Kroenke family position has been that they have no intention of selling and on Saturday they denied there had been a bid but Ek, who founded the music streaming app, tweeted: ‘Inaccurate reports emerged today saying I have not made a bid for Arsenal Football Club. I think it’s important to correct the record – this week an offer was made to both Josh Kroenke and their bankers that included fan ownership, representation on the board and a golden share. They replied that the don’t need the money. I respect their decision but I remain interested and available should that situation ever change.’
Spotify founder Daniel Ek has insisted he made an offer to Arsenal and remains interested
Billionaire Ek revealed he was told by Arsenal’s owners that they ‘didn’t need the money’
In promising a significant role for fans in the club and indicating that there would a so-called golden share for supporters, a minority stake but one with voting rights that would block major changes such as a breakaway league, he is sure to receive initial support from fans, currently protesting against the ownership of the Kroenkes.
The current owners were forced to apologise to fans for backing the failed Super League and KSE vice chairman Josh Kroenke and chief executive Vinai Venkatesham attended a fans’ forum where they received a torrid time from fans. Further protest are planned when Arsenal fans are allowed into the Emirates next Sunday, with supporter anger now at a peak after 10 years of the Kroenkes, which has seen four FA Cup wins but no league titles since they took full control in 2011.
Club legend Thierry Henry has publicly backed Ek’s plans for the club and fellow Invincibles, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp, are said to be supportive, after fans’ discontent reached breaking point with owner Stan Kroenke attempt to join the breakaway Super League, a situation intensified by Arsenal’s failures on the pitch. Ek had previously tweeted his interest in buying the club last month after fan protests against the Super League.
Ek made the offer to Josh Kroenke and his bankers but Arsenal owners have no intention to sell
Fans’ discontent have reached breaking point with the club’s current owner Stan Kroenke
Earlier in the day an Arsenal spokesperson said: ‘Nothing has been received by KSE (Kroenke Sports’ Entertainment]. Their position remains unchanged.’ It remained unclear late last night whether the bid had been received and acknowledged. The club is valued at over £2billion.
There has been significant supporters discontent at the club for years but especially since 2018 when a £550m buy-out of Alisher Usmanov’s 30 per cent stake allowed the Kroenkes to take their holding over 90 pre cent. Fans groups and small shareholders remain furious that KSE then forcibly purchased their shares, denying them a stake in the club and abolishing the shareholders’ Annual Meeting.
Arsenal have been spared the anger of supporter discontent at their poor performance this season because of the lock out of fans but it looks as though they will have their worst season since finishing 12th in 1995. The board is expected to give manager Mikel Arteta a chance to turn things around in the summer and at the start of next season, backing him in the transfer market in a bid to change the trajectory of the club. If Arsenal don’t qualify for Europe it will be first time they have failed to do so in 26 years, something which never happened in Arsene Wenger’s 22 years, which saw them qualify for the Champions League 21 times.
Arsenal fans were angry with the club’s intentions to join the failed European Super League
The Kroenke family have extended credit lines in order to sign players in recent years but with mixed success. Before Arteta arrived, Nicolas Pepe was a record signing in 2019 for £72m but has yet to prove his worth. William Saliba was also signed then for £27m but last summer sent out on loan to Nice by Arteta.
It was April 2007 when Kroenke bought an initial stake of 9.9 per cent in Arsenal through KSE for £65million. In September 2008, having slowly amassed more shares, Kroenke joined the Arsenal board of directors with 29.9 per cent of the club’s shares. In April 2011 he took control of the club, increasing his stake to 62.89 per cent by purchasing the shares owned by Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.
Former government minister and Goldman Sachs financer Jim O’Neill, whose full title is Baron O’Neil, has said that he suspects the furore over the Super League means the US owners of Premier League clubs are now more likely to sell, despite their denials. ‘The probability of some kind of government legislation is no longer zero. But I would have thought that changes the probability calculation among the likes of John W Henry and the Glazers about why they own these things.
‘In addition, because of the scale of the self-inflicted [harm caused by their] presentation of the Super League, you have to think that the probability of a Super League in the next decade, something these guys have been obviously plotting for a long time, has gone down. Which means these guys have either have to think of a different reality as to why they own these things or be marginally more interested in getting out than they were before.
Ek’s interest has been backed by former players including Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp
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