It has been reported that an unknown consortium from Qatar and the UAE is preparing to make a world record bid of USD 2.25 billion for English Premier League football club Arsenal.
The bid is almost twice the 2011 valuation of the club and, if successful, would beat the existing world record of USD 1.2 billion paid by Glazer family for Manchester United. Stan Kroenke, a prominent American business entrepreneur, is the current of the football club. The consortium is reportedly offering around USD 30,000 per share to the owners, which would value Kroenke’s 66.83 percent stake at USD 1.25 billion. The funds would also be sufficient to repay the club’s USD 376 million debts.
The takeover talks further underline the deep interest of Arab investors in top European sports clubs. With Manchester City and Paris St Germain already owned by Abu Dhabi and Qataris, respectively, it would strengthen the influence of Arabs in the European sport circles. In recent years, the former champion club has come under severe criticism for not winning silverware and losing several top players to other overseas and local clubs. If the takeover is successful, the group has promised fans that it would provide substantial transfer funds, reduce ticket prices and turn Arsenal into a “world force”.
Talking to the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, a source close to investors said that, “Arsenal is at a pivotal position at the moment. The fear is that the club is facing a cycle of decline like Liverpool. From our point of view it is the perfect moment to make this bid because at this moment in time you can still genuinely justify this extraordinary valuation on the club”.
The group has warned that it will not bid for the club if it declines any further. It believes that Arsenal will not “get this kind of valuation ever again” and this is the best chance for shareholders to maximize value of their holdings.