Thursday, May 28, 2009

Arsenal's Dueling Ownership Are Having the Best Week Ever

Boy howdy, this football season sure has ended with a whimper, huh? One minute it’s all title races and contentious cup draws, the next minute it’s summer vacation and transfer speculation (and yes, I know the FA Cup Final hasn't been played yet, just saying).

Amongst the Arsenal supporters, one of the more interesting -- and by interesting that I mean tedious -- storylines this summer will be the ownership struggle between Jabba-the-Hut-impersonator Alisher Usmanov and mustached American billionaire Stan Kroenke. Kroenke seems to be in the driver’s seat thanks to his positive relationship with the Arsenal board, but Usmanov appears quite incapable of going away quietly.

After the jump, find out why both Kroenke and Usmanov are having the Best Week Ever.

Let’s start with Stan Kroenke. In addition to his stake in Arsenal FC, Kroenke also owns the Denver Nuggets, who are in the midst of an NBA Western Conference playoff series with the L.A. Lakers. Since joining the NBA from the old ABA, this is only the Nuggets third trip to the Conference Finals, with the most recent being back in 1985. So, you could forgive the Nuggets' management if they hadn’t exactly planned ahead.

That lack of foresight led to a double booking of the Pepsi Center this past Monday. The other party that thought it had the venue booked? A WWE wrestling event. In the end, the WWE was forced to relocate, which led to a rather bizarre skit in which a fake Stan Kroenke told the audience of pimply 15-year-olds, “Do you think that I care that I screwed thousands of WWE fans? I do not. I have much more important things to do with my team than worry about you people.” The skit ended with WWE impresario Vince McMahon shoving the fake Kroenke. Which once again proves true that wrestling is not exactly Henrik Ibsen.

Meanwhile, professional fat guy Alisher Usmanov has expanded his run of overpaying for investments by pouring $200 million into Facebook. According to Forbes, this investment actually came through Digital Sky Technologies, of which Usmanov is not an official owner but who reportedly has a “substantial” stake.

The valuation of Digital Sky’s investment is over 300% where previous private equity had pegged Facebook's valuation (short version: Digital Sky overpaid). Forbes also points out that Usmanov has a fairly poor track record of investments lately, including a bad bet on something Norilsk Nickel. We can only guess what this might mean for Facebook's future (speaking of which, befriend us here!)

So, these are the two people who will be battling it out this summer to control Arsenal FC. In the meantime, they are both having..... the Best Week Ever!!


Nathaniel said...

Looks like Alisher should be investing in some SlimFast, amirite?

Teeknuts said...

If he's Jaba the Hutt, is Arshavin that creepy laughing thing that he always had around him, Salacious Crumb?

Yeah, I knew his name from memory, I love my Star Wars.

bergkampesdios said...

No, no - no more pie.

OK, just one more piece.

Magnakai Haaskivi said...

I'm surprised the WWE didn't mine the comedy goldmine that "Stan Kroenke likes SOCCER!" could've provided.

EbullientFatalist said...

@Mag: that would've been riot inducing. "Mayhem" is a criminal charge with which the WWE would not like to be associated. Or not.