Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke has agreed to take full ownership of London soccer club Arsenal, one of the world’s most successful sports franchises.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Kroenke’s company, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, which already owns 67% of Arsenal, said Tuesday it offered to buy the 30% of the club held by minority owner Alisher Usmanov, a Russian billionaire. The deal would reportedly give the company, which also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and MLS’s Colorado Rapids, sole ownership of the world’s sixth most profitable sports team.
The move would also expand America’s presence in English soccer. The country’s two most successful soccer teams, Manchester United and Liverpool, are respectively owned by the Glazer family, which also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and John W. Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox. Billionaire Shad Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has stakes in English Premiere League clubs West Ham United, Crystal Palace F.C. and A.F.C. Bournemouth.
It’s a particularly tense time for Arsenal, as they just parted ways with coach Arsene Wagner after 22 years at the end of last season and loosened their grip atop the Premiere League rankings in recent years, failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League the past two seasons.