Arsenal chairman to meet Kroenke
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood will meet Stan Kroenke to "hear what he has to say" amid reports the American is preparing a hostile takeover bid. Kroenke recently increased his stake in the Gunners to 12.19% and is understood to be the main reason behind the exit of former vice-chairman David Dein. Hill-Wood recently said of the American billionaire "we do not want his sort". But Hill-Wood now admits he has "spoken to him recently to arrange a meeting so that I can hear what he has to say." The move represents a change of heart for Hill-Wood who recently claimed Kroenke knew "nothing about our football". The letter to the shareholders added: "Our managing director, Keith Edelman, has already had one meeting with Mr Kroenke since his investment. His recent acquisition of shares has caused a great deal of media speculation and the board felt that the time is right to reassure you about the future of our club."
Hill-Wood's letter expresses his doubt about a new owner buying the club in order to profit from it but reassures supporters that manager Arsene Wenger remains part of the club's long-term future. "Our approach, which is very much in line with (manager) Arsene Wenger's, is that the funds generated from ticket sales, broadcasting revenue and the like should be made available for investment in players and that this is the most sustainable way to ensure the club's long-term growth and future." Kroenke Sports Enterprises held a 11.26% stake, mainly as a result of buying 9.9% of the club from ITV. But he raised his stake days after "irreconcilable differences" between Dein and the Arsenal board prompted Dein to leave the club. If Kroenke, who owns the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer club, raises his Arsenal stake to 30% he is obliged by takeover rules to launch a formal bid for the Gunners.