Arsenal May Be Taken Over for 1.5 Billion Pounds, Telegraph Says

Arsenal football club may be bought out by a Middle East group for 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion), potentially the sport’s biggest takeover, the U.K. Telegraph reported, citing an unidentified person in the group.

The cash offer for all of the 62,217 issued shares would include about 830 million pounds for U.S. owner Stan Kroenke’s 66.83 percent stake, according to the report. The bid, more than twice the amount that Arsenal was valued at two years ago, will be backed by funds from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the Telegraph reported.

A successful offer for Arsenal at that price would eclipse the 790 million pound leveraged buyout in 2005 of Manchester United Plc by the U.S.-based Glazer family. The money would enable the club to pay back its about 250 million pounds of debt, the Telegraph said, citing Arsenal’s last full-year results.

The group behind the bid would make available funds to improve the squad and pledge to reduce ticket prices at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, according to the Telegraph report. The group has requested a meeting with Kroenke, it said.

Arsenal, which faces Tottenham Hotspur today in the north London derby, is currently fifth in the 20-team Premier League standings, one spot out of the positions for Europe’s elite Champions League competition. The team, managed by Arsene Wenger, hasn’t won a major trophy since the F.A. Cup in 2005.

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