The Arsenal Shareholders meet today to discuss all things Arsenal followed by a Gala Dinner. There may well be two notable absentees in the form of Alisher Usmanov and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. The question that should be on our lips is “Why do we need yet another rich tycoon to save Arsenal Football Club?”
The intervention of Stephen Perry has muddied the waters, and now the battle for control of Arsenal seems more like a session of the security council at the United Nations. Major super powers discussing the best options for a defensive midfielder!
On one side we have the United States represented by Stanley Kroenke with 28.3% of shares, not completely paid for, with the shadow of Phillip Anschutz of AEG possibly ready to provide the financial reinforcements if needed. Then of course we have Russia, represented by Alisher Usmanov, whose past alleged jail sentence due to issues hotly disputed by the man will fall conveniently outside the new proposed Premier League “Fit and Proper Person” test for ownership of a Club. Usmanov seems keen to try and recoup the vast millions spent on buying up shares at a premium. His last effort to spoil the outflanking defensive screen move by Kroenke, being a “Hail Mary” in the shape of the Takeover panel. (Those who watch American Football will understand what I mean )
Then of course there is Danny Fiszman,and the establish remnants of traditional Arsenal. The last bastion of hope for the United Kingdom. One would also hope to call upon Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, to reinforce the small but mighty foundation of Arsenal Heritage. It now seems that the battle for Arsenal between Russia and the United States will be overshadowed by the intervention of China. Aided and abetted by one Stephen Perry.
So a simple question that I throw out to Insiders? Who is Stephen Perry?
The Telegraph said the following,
“Stephen Perry, managing director of London Export Corporation, an Anglo-Chinese trading group, has been trying to buy shares in the company as a means of keeping Arsenal in multiple ownership.
News of Mr Perry’s involvement comes as Mr Kroenke, who owns a 28.3pc holding in Arsenal, and Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire steel magnate who holds a 25pc stake, battle for control
of the Premier League club.
Sources close to Mr Perry claim he had been invited by the Carr family to purchase its 8pc stake in the club. However, a deal fell through late last week after the family, led by board director Richard Carr, opted to sell out to Mr Kroenke in a near-£50m deal.
“Perry is not anti-Kroenke, he just believes that four central shareholders and a rights issue is the right route for the club,” said a source close to the businessman. “He think control by one shareholder is a bad model for control of a football club.” While prepared to finance any purchase himself, Mr Perry, a keen Arsenal supporter, has received offers of backing from several wealthy
investors. It remains unclear why the Carr family would have asked Mr Perry to make an offer for its shares and then sell elsewhere. “Perhaps they
were trying to drive the price up or more likely they got lent on by one of the big shareholders,” said one source.
The Takeover Panel is investigating Mr Kroenke’s purchase of 5,000 shares from his fellow board member, Danny Fiszman, in March amid
suggestions the two could have broken concert party rules. The Panel’s ruling was expected last week but appears to have been delayed.”
So what do we know of Stephen Perry?
Stephen Perry has been at the forefront of trade with China for over 30 years firstly, running the first and largest trading company partner of the P.R.C., based in London . London Export Corporation was the first to start doing business in China in 1952. Stephen opened their New York offices soon after Nixonís first trip to China.
The core business today produces long-term positions in the China market for western corporations. The business is now headquartered in Hong Kong and run from its Beijing offices.
Stephen is also chairman of the legendary 48 Group Club, which was formed following their famous Icebreaker mission to China in 1953.
Stephen’s father was one of the main forces behind that visionary mission, which led to 48 British companies becoming known as the 48
Group. They and their Chinese counterparts who inspired this breakthrough in China’s foreign trade became known as the Icebreakers.
Working in fields as diverse as sport, entertainment, chemicals, and machinery, the core skill of London Export is reading the unfolding China and its commercial dimensions.
The group remains small and focused but has handled many billions in Chinese trade and investment.
Is Mr Perry the likely saviour of Arsenal Football club from an US tycoon takeover? or merely a distinguished Business representative who has links with the 48 Group Club. Could his mission to be to get us all to forget the worst aspects of the repressive Chinese regime and concentrate more on making money with them. I think that we should research more about this man before assuming his true motives. The Club has a formal link up with China, that I disapprove of, but hey ho, who cares about the prisoners of conscience from the Tiananmen Square protests anyway?
To be honest I don’t know the man or his passion for Arsenal or otherwise. I may be doing him a great disservice, in which case I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by my sarcasm above.
However, apart from his uncanny resemblance to a member of the Carr Family that was going to sell him their shares according to recent media articles, I think that Gooners are entitled to ask him to make his motives clear. We have enough mega rich personalities circling the club like Great White Sharks about to devour unsuspecting seals. So isn’t it time that a self professed Arsenal fan came to the rescue instead of eyeing the millions that could be made from share dealings?
Could Stephen Perry’s intervention be exactly what we need? Well that of course depends upon one certain Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. Her holdings will determine the ultimate fate of Arsenal Football Club. Not exactly what Danny Fiszman had in mind… What a summer we have to look forward to.
So when will the takeover take place? Well your guess is as good as mine. The main obstacle being the share price. If Alisher Usmanove can force Stephen Kroenke to have to bid for the club via the Takeover panel, then the dizzy heights of £10,000 a share will help Usmanov recover many of his losses in his share deali ngs in Arsenal shares. Under this scenario the takeover could happen as soon as this su mmer. If on the otherhand, Stephen Kroenke is able to continue trading shares at a lower value over the next year, then the more manageable £6,000+ a share becomes the peak. Usmanov will lose heavily, and Kroenke will find any bid to takeover the club more attractive in 12 to 18 months time.
What must be prevented at all costs, is a scenario where like Manchester United, the new owners do not pay for the club with their own assets, deciding instead to place the debt within the club. We as Arsenal fans appear to have no power or say in this immense game of poker being played out by incredibly wealthy people. Of the choices available, it seems like the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea…
Fabregas the King.