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Arsenal board builds bigger barriers to block hostile takeover

Arsenal’s directors today put in place measures to try to ensure the club remains in British hands by revising their lock-down agreement on the sale of board members’ shares.

The new agreement, revealed at the club’s annual meeting this morning, states that the Gunners’ directors will only sell their stake to “permitted persons” before April 2009 and had to give fellow board members ‘first-option’ until October 2012. However, according to the club website, there is a termination clause in the agreement in October 2010.
The previous deal saw the directors agree that none of them would sell their shares before April 2008, so the new deal safeguards at least 45% of the club’s shares for a further year at the minimum.
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood said: “Members of the Board are committed long-term shareholders and to strengthen the current position they have entered into a new agreement which replaces the existing lock-down agreement which expires next April.
“Under the new agreement, the Board members have agreed not to dispose of any of their interests in the Club before 18 April 2009, other than to certain permitted persons such as close family. After that date, for the remainder of the term of the agreement, they can only sell their shares to another person if the other parties to the agreement do not wish to buy them. The agreement is for five years (until 18 October 2012), although it can be terminated early by the parties on its third anniversary (18 October 2010).”

Hill-Wood also detailed the club’s amazing financial results since the move to Emirates Stadium. And he also today hinted at the possibility of Arsene Weger being his replacement as Chairman of Arsenal...

“We had a very successful financial performance over the past year,” said Hill-Wood. “Together with our very promising start to the season, in which Arsene Wenger’s team has won 12 of our first 13 matches, we are all very encouraged with the current performances of our Club both on and off the field.

“There has been much recent media coverage surrounding the share ownership of the Group, following the arrival of two new major shareholders in the past year. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise to all shareholders that the Arsenal Board is committed to the principle of developing the long-term stability of the Club through maintaining a business that pays its own way.”

And the chairman is so impressed by Wenger’s management attributes that he believes the Frenchman could one day step up to be the club’s overall figurehead.

According to ITN, Hill-Wood said, ”None of us are getting any younger. Arsene would make an excellent chairman one day, but we haven't discussed anything specifically."

Whether Wenger would want that job or not, is another matter altogether, but the prospect of Arsene being a Gunner for life is one that I’m sure most supporters would give their backing to.

What do you think of the board's latest move to block the possibility of a hostile takeover? Share your opinions here

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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 18, 2007 1:20 PM in Debate of the Day| News
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