It’s AGM day at Arsenal, and with the football unfortunately taking second place to the drama that occurs at board level, the focus is today on the intentions of Red and White, Kroenke and of course the existing board members.
The latter have been first to make their intentions clear, with an announcementthat the lockdown agreement, which prevented any of them from selling their shares this financial year, had been extended to a minimum of three years, when a termination clause kicks in.
“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).”
Looks like an excellent deal to me. None of the board members will now be able to sell to any hostile party until at least October 2010, two and a half years beyond the previous lockdown.
The April 2009 date interests me. It seems that although no-one will sell shares for the next 18 months, they could beyond that if they are in agreement over the buyer. While this undoubtedly rules out Usmanov, there is a possibility that if Kroenke would be welcomed into ‘the team’, he could benefit from this. He now has plenty of time to continue his meetings with the board before such a decision has to be made.
The other alternative, however, is simply that the board can transfer around shares in the case of one of the number cease to be on the board. They aren’t getting any younger, after all, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that one could call time. A consensus on the distribution of shares in that eventuality seems wise to me.
The wording also appears to suggest that the deal will actually run until 2012 unless a consensus agrees otherwise. So, in essence, a single shareholder cannot be ‘turned’ for five years.
If that isn’t a statement of intent, I don’t know what is.