Kroenke set to buy St Louis Rams

13 April 2010 03:55
US billionaire Stan Kroenke has said he intends to take full ownership of the St Louis Rams American football team.The move surprised observers as it was thought that Mr Kroenke was focusing on a possible bid for Arsenal football club, where he already holds 29.98%. [LNB]Mr Kroenke, who owns 40% of the Rams, will have to spend about $750m (£486m)to buy the rest of the NFL team. [LNB]However, Henk Potts, analyst at Barclays Stockbrokers, said the Rams' deal did not preclude an Arsenal bid. [LNB]The owners of the remaining 60% stake in the Rams, Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, had struck a deal to sell their controlling interest to businessman Shahid Khan. [LNB]But Mr Kroenke had first refusal on that stake, and had until a deadline on Monday to decide whether to exercise his option. [LNB]He said in a statement: "We look forward to working with the Rosenbloom family and the NFL to complete this transaction. We will respect the league and its processes in our efforts to complete this transaction." [LNB][LNB] MATT SLATER'S BLOG Kroenke has shocked US observers by deciding to match Khan's $750m bid for the Rams However, he is now likely to fall foul of the NFL's cross-ownership rules, which state that owners cannot have a majority interest in an NFL team in one city if they control another major league sports team elsewhere in the US. [LNB]Mr Kroenke already owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets basketball team, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche hockey team and Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids. [LNB]His move will raise further questions about the future ownership of Arsenal, the English Premier League club. [LNB]On Monday it emerged that another Arsenal shareholder, Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who holds 15.9% of the club, was seeking to sell her stake.[LNB]Mr Kroenke already owns a number of US sports clubsThe move was expected to prompt a bidding war between Mr Kroenke and his main rival, Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who has 26.29% of the club's shares. [LNB]If a shareholder's stake in a company reaches 30%, he or she has to offer to buy the entire stockholding. [LNB]Henk Potts said: "Obviously, the Rams deal involves a significant amount of money and could be a significant distraction for Mr Kroenke in the short term. [LNB]"But what it does show is that Mr Kroenke is a serious investor in sport, and I'm sure he has enough money to do an Arsenal deal if he wants." [LNB]Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was not concerned about a potential takeover of the club. [LNB]"It doesn't affect the way we work and the philosophy we have here at the club," he told a press conference ahead of Wednesday's game against Tottenham. [LNB]"It could be an unknown party but in our job you adapt and as long as I am free to work the way I want, I don't want to interfere with that. There is no special worry."

Source: BBC_Sport