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Spotify CEO says Arsenal's billionaire owner turned down his offer

FILE PHOTO: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek speaks during a media event in New York, U.S., May 20, 2015.
FILE PHOTO: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek speaks during a media event in New York, U.S., May 20, 2015. (REUTERS)

The company's CEO Daniel Ek said he made a bid for London’s Arsenal Football Club that was rebuffed by American billionaire Stan Kroenke.

Spotify Technology SA Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said he made a bid for London’s Arsenal Football Club that was rebuffed by American billionaire Stan Kroenke.

“It’s important to correct the record,” Ek said Saturday, referring to reports that he hadn’t made an offer. “This week, an offer was made to both Josh Kroenke and their bankers that included fan ownership, representation at the board and a golden share for the supporters,” he said.

“They replied that they don’t need the money,” Ek said, adding that he remains “interested and available should that situation ever change.”

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Arsenal is valued at $2.8 billion, according to Forbes, making it the eighth most-valuable soccer club in the world. Kroenke, who’s worth $9.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, owns all of Arsenal after taking it private several years ago in a deal valuing the club at $2.3 billion.

Ek said last month he was a lifelong Arsenal fan and would be “happy to throw my hat in the ring,” if the owners wanted to sell.

That announcement came after fans reacted with anger to Arsenal’s plans to join an elite European league last month. While the project quickly fell through, there was speculation some owners might consider selling their teams, though Kroenke and his son said they had no intention of doing so.

The Irish Mirror reported last month that Manchester United’s U.S. owners would be prepared to sell the English Premier League club – one of the 12 teams that signed up for the ill-starred Super League – for 4 billion pounds ($5.6 billion).

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Ek founded digital music-streaming service Spotify and is worth $3.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Reports had suggested former players Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira would be part of his bid.

Complaints about Kroenke’s ownership have grown as the team slipped in the Premier League. Those protests have intensified since news of the Super League emerged. Last Friday, several hundred fans gathered outside the team’s north London stadium chanting “Kroenke out.”

A spokesman for Arsenal declined to comment.

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