Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How far would you go for a 15.9% share of Arsenal?

Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith has contacted a few investment bankers to ask around for potential buyers for her 15.9% stake of the Arsenal. Kroenke won't be interested because he's just bought out the rest of the St Louis Rams, and even a billionaire like Kroenke can be put under financial constraints. Usmanov won't be interested yet, because he's intent on scooping up random shares until he gets to the mandatory 30% takeover figure. So Bracewell-Smith is hawking her shares around to rich oil-sheiks, Asian businessmen and American snake-oil merchants.

However, it'll be difficult to find buyers, considering the Arsenal don't pay dividends, Bracewell-Smith's stake is a minority stake, and the two majority owners are likely to fight it out for full ownership in the near future. If Bracewell-Smith is holding out for £10,500 a share, and Kroenke's been buying for around £8,500, I can't see how a potential buyer would accept her valuation and pay £100m in the hope that Kroenke or Usmanov will be willing to pay £11,000+ a share in the near future. The only people who would even contemplate this deal would be those with more money than sense, and who are a bit too much in love with the Arsenal.

In other words, it's a golden opportunity for the Arsenal Shareholders Trust.

I'm not certain what percentage stake they have, but it can't be more than 5%. It's a token amount. Bracewell-Smith is offering a 15.9% stake. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to get a significant stake in the club, and a seat on the board. They're not worried about dividends, or returns on investment. They're only interested in the best interests of Arsenal and of the Arsene Wenger Footballing Academy. Maybe I'm inspired by the altruism (hah!) of the Red Knights of Man Utd, but I'm daring to dream the dream of a significant fan-holding at Arsenal Inc.

The only problem is money. Where is the AST going to find £100m? In this current financial climate, unless they can round up 1000 investment banking gooners, they're not going to raise that kind of money. Or unless AST somehow acquire Cesc Fabregas' contract, and flog him to Man City. Or unless they scrape together £1m and go to Vegas.

Then again, there is another way:

As you can see, Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith is a bit of a looker for an older woman. I'm not sure what her status is at the moment, but surely there are a few enterprising, immoral gooners out there with a hankering for GMILFs and who are unscrupulous enough to seduce a woman for her Arsenal shares. After all, it's for the good of the club.

How far would you go for a 15.9% share of the Arsenal?

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