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Stan Kroenke: The view from America of Arsenal's prospective owner

Stan Kroenke struck an agreement with Arsenal minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov for his 30 percent stake in the Premier League club this week.

Combining that with Kroenke's 67 percent of shares now allows Kroenke to force the remaining individual shareholders to sell the other three-percent stake to him as well.

Put simply, Kroenke will soon have complete ownership of one of European football's crown jewel clubs, ending a nearly 10-year battle for sole control.

The deal, which values Arsenal at £1.8 billion, further strengthens the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) stable of sports assets which also includes NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS franchises.

Here are some things to know about Kroenke as he takes full control.

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He's one of the world's richest billionaires

According to Forbes, Kroenke is worth more than $8.3bn. In that publication's rankings of the world's billionaires, Kroenke checks in at No. 183, and he was tied for 57th on the 2017 list of wealthiest Americans. Much of that fortune comes from his real estate investments; he owns more than 30 million square feet in shopping plazas near Walmart stores in the United States.

Kroenke is married to Ann Walton, the daughter of Walmart co-founder Bud Walton. Kroenke met his future wife on a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, in 1971. They married three years later. Today, the Kroenkes are worth nearly $14bn combined.

Kroenke also is reported to own nearly 1.4m acres of ranch land in North America and has many other holdings, including media entities and wineries.

He's a sports mogul

Upon completing the deal for Arsenal, Kroenke will be the controlling owner of six professional sports teams, five of which are in the U.S.: NFL's Los Angeles Rams, NBA's Denver Nuggets, NHL's Colorado Avalanche, Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids and Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League. Despite this broad portfolio, none of these teams has won a national championship while under KSE ownership.

Technically, he had to remove his ownership roots to some of those Colorado-based franchises to comply with the NFL's rules on cross-ownership, but they still belong to the Kroenke family. Kroenke is also the third NFL owner to have control of a Premier League team, joining the Glazer family, which owns Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Shad Khan, owner of newly-promoted Premier League club Fulham and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He moved a team across a country

Kroenke engineered the return of American football to the Los Angeles market. After purchasing majority ownership in the then-St. Louis Rams in 2010, he began eyeing a potential move back to southern California. When the team's stadium lease on the Edward Jones Dome moved to a year-to-year deal, after the city was unable to live up to terms that included maintaining it as one of the eight best facilities in the league, Kroenke revealed an elaborate stadium and development plan at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

The game-changing proposal ultimately won approval to move by the NFL and his dream stadium and surrounding development is expected to cost nearly $5bn. Kroenke's Los Angeles stadium will also house the Los Angeles Chargers, who moved to the city a year after the Rams and will pay rent to Kroenke as stadium tenants.

In 2015, the Rams' last season in St. Louis, they were valued by Forbes at $1.45bn, which was 28th in the NFL. Now, Forbes values the Los Angeles Rams at $3bn, the 14th-most valuable sports franchise in the world.

He stays out of the limelight

Over the years, Kroenke has earned the nickname "Silent Stan" for his reclusive approach to media appearances. After completing the move to Los Angeles, Kroenke spoke a handful of times, but he has mostly eschewed public declarations since.

Kroenke also hasn't endeared himself to Arsenal fans. In one of his few public speaking appearances in recent years, Kroenke spoke at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston in 2016. There, he discussed the need to balance spending on the club and attempting to maximise the business side, angering fans who already believed he didn't spend enough on player transfers.


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