Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek revealed on Saturday that he made an offer this week to buy Arsenal, England’s Premier League football club, but was turned away by the club’s US owners.
The offer from Ek, the billionaire founder of the music streaming service, came less than a month after he made public his interest in buying the north London club, where fan resentment against its owners was boiling For years.
In an image shared on his Twitter account, Ek wrote that he had made an offer for the club, which is owned by billionaire American sports mogul Stan Kroenke, in response to “inaccurate reports” that he did not. of offer.
Ek said it was in the care of Kroenke’s son Josh, club manager and vice president of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), and was also shared with the owners’ bankers.
“They said they didn’t need the money,” Ek wrote. “I respect their decision, but I remain interested and available if this situation ever changes.”
Arsenal, who last won the Premier League in 2004, pointed to an earlier statement made by KSE, in which the group made it clear that they were not selling the club or receiving any offers.
Stan Kroenke became a shareholder of Arsenal in 2007 and took majority control four years later. In 2018, he acquired a remaining 30% stake from Russian metal mogul Alisher Usmanov for £ 550million in cash, ending a high-profile battle for control between the two.
Arsenal fans have accused the Kroenkes for years of not making a commitment to develop the club so that it can compete at the highest levels of English and European football.
This anger was rekindled last month when Arsenal were one of 12 European clubs to have signed for a breakaway European Super League, a plan which collapsed after just two days following backlash from fans and politicians. .
Arsenal were one of six English clubs, also including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, who quickly fell away from the Super League after criticism from their supporters.
The separatist competition has been criticized for effectively being a closed league with permanent positions for its founders, making it more difficult for rivals to enter their ranks. Days after the April 18 announcement, Ek made it clear his affection for the club and revealed his interest in acquiring it from the Kroenkes.
The UK government attacked the separatist league and then put in place a football governance review that will examine whether an independent regulator is needed for the sport. Ek said his offer included “fan ownership, board representation and a gold fan share.”
Tim Payton, Arsenal Supporters’ Trust board member, asked Josh Kroenke to explain why the offer was rejected.
“The direction in which English football is going, with a greater desire to involve supporters from government to the Premier League to supporters, is not compatible with the KSE model,” he said. “If they can’t adapt to that, it would be better if they left English football.”