Kroenke increases Arsenal stake

LONDON - U.S. sports tycoon Stan Kroenke has increased his stake in English Premier League club Arsenal to 20.5 percent after buying a third of director Daniel Fiszman's holding for 42.5 million pounds. Arsenal said in a statement that Kroenke, owner of U.S. Colorado Rapids soccer team and a member of the Arsenal board, bought 5,000 shares at 8,500 pounds apiece. That price values the club at about 525 million pounds. Kroenke said he wanted to work with his board colleagues to maintain a stable environment and "preserve the self-sustaining business model enjoyed by the club". Fiszman, who now owns just over 16 percent of the total issued shared capital, said he would not sell any more shares. "I am ... delighted that (Kroenke) has shown this desire to deepen his ties with Arsenal," Fiszman said in a statement. "I will of course continue to work for Arsenal with the best interests of the club at heart and have no intention of selling any more of my shareholding." Fiszman, who was heavily involved in developing Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, told the club's web site he saw Kroenke's increasing involvement as a positive development. Arsenal, drawn against Villarreal in the quarter finals of the Champions League, have been at the centre of takeover speculation after Kroenke and then Russian Alisher Usmanov started building stakes. Most Arsenal board members had agreed not to sell their stakes for a set period in an effort to stave off a takeover, but Fiszman said the other members had agreed to the deal. "Stan Kroenke has proved to be a valuable member of the board and I am pleased that he has demonstrated further commitment to the club," chairman Peter Hill-Wood said. Kroenke has previously said he is not interested in pursuing a full buyout. Usmanov is the largest shareholder with around 25 percent. The Arsenal Supporters' Trust, whose members hold around 3 percent of the club's equity, said they had been supportive of Kroenke joining the board and welcomed his expertise. "If a sale had to take place we are reassured that it is to Stan," it said on the Trust's web site. "The fact that Stan Kroenke is already a member of the board at Arsenal should ensure that this change does not create any instability." ARSENAL FANS! Check’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas Q&A Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas One on One Arsene Wenger, Thierry Henry, Ian Wright Boy's A Bit Special Theo Walcott, Armand Traore Perfect XI Ian Wright What Happened Next? Gus Caesar, Peter Marinello And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan Plus! Rate Arsenal players (and others) on Talentspotter