Rich person Stan Kroenke is in the process of expanding his sports enterprise business. Less than a year after officially purchasing the St. Louis Rams, Kroenke is now trying to purchase complete control of the Premier League franchise. Today, he got a vote of confidence from the Arsenal board of directors.
Kroenke now owns 63 percent of the franchise, and he's offering $1.2 billion to buy the rest. Some of the smaller shareholders could resist the buy, including wealthy Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov. An outside group is campaigning against Kroenke's takeover bid.
So what's all this mean for Rams fans? Probably nothing. There's some outside hand-wringing that the Arsenal big could overextend Kroenke, a la Malcolm Glazer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and pull resources away from the Rams. But Kroenke plays in a much bigger league. It's interesting to note that he also announced today that he does not plan to finance his bid by borrowing money against the futbol franchise.
In case you had forgotten, Kroenke is involved in a little American ma and pa business called Wal-Mart. Before marrying into the Walton dynasty, he was a successful real estate developer that specialized in facilitating the spread immensely profitable suburban and exurban sprawl that surrounds our cities...(and strips away our national character, but that's for another time). The only limits on Kroenke's day job is available land and potable water. The only threat is a curbed appetite for purchasing more and more things the American middle class doesn't need.
It's a fairly low-risk venture for Kroenke. Look at the growth of television contracts for US spots. EPL soccer has grown tremendously in this market, one that's usually treated soccer as though it were some quirk of Title IX.
The man clearly knows what he's doing, buying into the two most profitable professional sports leagues in the world.
Not to worry, there's plenty of business intrigue surrounding the Rams, not the least of which involves a stadium issue playing out against the back drop of one nasty labor battle, with a hungry market in Los Angeles waiting for another shot at professional football.