Thursday, 18 October 2007
Beware of the Bear III – A kick in the Urals!
With a little help from the BBC
It was announced today that the Directors of Arsenal Football Club have extended the “lock-down" agreement on the sale of shares.
The original "lock-down" came after former vice-chairman David Dein left because of "irreconcilable differences".
In essence it means directors can only sell to "permitted persons" before April 2009 and must give fellow board members first option until October 2012.
Or put another way ‘Sorry Alisher, no dice pal’.
The Russian billionaire has built a stake of 23% in Arsenal through his holding company Red and White Holdings Limited fronted by David Dein.
Earlier this month, he said he would continue to buy shares if other major shareholders wanted to sell and the price was right.
But chairman Peter Hill-Wood insisted: "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.
"Under the new agreement, the board members have agreed not to dispose of any of their interests in the club before April 18, 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 although it can be terminated early by the parties on its third anniversary [18 October 2010]."
It is understood that if Usmanov gains a 25% share of Arsenal, the current board would not be able to change the way the club is run without his say-so.
The Bear is still lurking in the woods, but after today it can be hoped the one of the great English Clubs can remain just that. Well for the foreseeable future at least.