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By ESPN Staff

Kroenke stays silent at Arsenal AGM

Stan Kroenke maintained his silence at Arsenal's Annual General Meeting on Thursday afternoon, when questions were directly raised as to the intentions of the American billionaire investor.

The Denver-based sports magnate is now the largest individual shareholder in the Gunners' holding company, with a stake of some 28.86% which includes a recent £765,000 purchase.

Should Kroenke, or indeed anyone else such as second-largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov, reach the 29.9% threshold, they would, under the City's financial regulations, be obliged to launch a formal takeover bid.

However, when the inevitable subject was raised at the AGM, Kroenke, sitting next to chief executive Ivan Gazidis on the top table, simply sat and smiled, allowing chairman Peter Hill-Wood to address the floor.

''I don't think we are looking for a change in custodian,'' he said. ''I think you will find the club is in pretty good hands. I believe he [Stan] is happy to be a long-term shareholder in our club. Really its not for me to say what his intentions are.''

Kroenke's group are just some 646 shares short of the takeover threshold.

Any public statements against future bid intentions must be unambiguous, otherwise the individual or group would, under the Takeover Panel's rule 2.8, be prevented from making a formal move for six months.

Hill-Wood added: ''It is not something I can discuss publicly or even privately. We have a takeover panel breathing down our necks and I have to be very careful with what I say.''

Manager Arsene Wenger, who today celebrated his 60th birthday, was happy to answer questions from shareholders, once again re-affirming his belief in the young Gunners.

He said: ''I know that we haven't won a trophy for four years but we were very close. I believe that this year the team will do it. When I say that, it is not to please you, it is because I am really convinced of it.''


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