The Arsenal Supporters Trust is planning to reject Stan Kroenke’s mandatory offer for their shares in a last show of defiance against the American billionaire although they have no hopes of legally challenging the takeover.
Kroenke is set to take single ownership of Arsenal after minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov agreed to sell his 30 percent stake in the club earlier this month.
That deal means Kroenke can force the remaining shareholders to sell their combined 3 percent stake as well, but the AST — the leading Arsenal fan group — will not give up their six shares willingly.
“By accepting the offer you actively say, ‘Yes, we’re willing to sell to you.’ That’s not what we want to do. It’s highly likely we just ignore it,” AST spokesman Nigel Philips said. “It’s a futile gesture, because it makes no difference. But tendering your shares to the owner is just like saying, ‘Here you are, you can have it.’ I think we would all feel marginally better if we said, ‘No, you can’t have our shares.'”
Phillips said Kroenke served all shareholders a compulsory purchase notice this week that outlined the conditions of the offer. The letter gives individual shareholders six weeks to accept the bid of slightly over £29,000 per share.
Those who accept can get paid within three days, whereas the money for those who refuse will be paid into a trust administered by Arsenal and distributed to the shareholders in a process that could take months, Phillips said.
“There’s no difference in money, it’s just the time and the process,” Phillips said. “But there’s no rush to get the money. There’s no risk we won’t get the money. It’s just a symbolic gesture.”
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