Saturday December 9, 2023

Why Kroenke Rejected Spotify CEO’s $2.5B Bid For Arsenal

  • Arsenal's owners rejected a bid by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to acquire the team.
  • Ek remains interested, should the opportunity arise.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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Perhaps the last thing one would expect to hear after a multi-billion dollar offer for anything is, “I don’t need the money, thanks,” but that’s what happened to Daniel Ek. 

The Spotify CEO tweeted that he indeed made an offer for Arsenal FC over the weekend, despite some reports stating the contrary. Now, Ek’s bid for Arsenal has been put on pause as the team owner, Stan Kroenke, remains unfazed by fan unrest and continued protests.

Ek had put together a bid of $2.55 billion with team legends Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Dennis Bergkamp, hoping to capitalize on outrage at the team’s owners following the Super League fiasco. 

Ek said that he reached out to Josh Kroenke —Stan’s son, who helps run the sports giant Kroenke Sports & Entertainment —and team bankers. Ek said that he made an offer for the club but was told “they don’t need the money.”

Whatever their feelings on fan unrest, it’s true that the Kroenkes are not short on cash. 

  • KSE owns the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Rapids of MLS, and teams in esports, the National Lacrosse League, and arena football.
  • Stan Kroenke, who founded KSE in 1999, is the world’s 14th-richest sports team owner. His net worth is an estimated $8.2 billion, despite an 18% drop due to the pandemic.
  • Kroenke married Ann Walton, an heiress to the Walmart fortune with a net worth of $8.9 billion, in 1974. In 1983, he founded the real estate company Kroenke Group, which built apartments and shopping plazas, often near Walmart stores.

This is not the first time Kroenke has rankled a fan base. In 2016, he uprooted the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and moved them to Los Angeles. 

As for Ek, the 38-year old Swede who owns 9% of Spotify and is worth a reported $4.8 billion, “remains interested and available” should the Kroenke’s’ situation ever change.

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