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  • Kroenke plays it close to the vest ..

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/23/2010

    ORLANDO, FLA. — The day's business concluded, Stan Kroenke walked out of the NFL owners' meeting room Monday evening with Rams senior consultant John Shaw at his side.

    About the last person Kroenke wanted to see in this venue was a reporter. He has always been what's best described as media shy — and that's particularly the case now that Urbana, Ill., businessman Shahid Khan has entered into an agreement to purchase controlling interest in the Rams.

    So what will Stan do? Buy, sell or stand pat? Kroenke didn't tip his hand Monday, saying he continues to consider his options.


    "We're all talking about our different approaches here, trying to come up with the best approach for everyone involved, I think," Kroenke said.


    He also indicated that he will take the full 60 days, or very close to it, to decide what to do.

    "I think that it's prudent to think through your options," Kroenke said. "These are big decisions. We're going to try to do the right thing."

    Kroenke said he really couldn't say anything more until the process plays itself out.

    Kroenke currently owns 40 percent of the Rams. He can decide to:

    — Stand pat and maintain his 40 percent share of the Rams.

    — "Cash out" and sell his 40 percent share.

    — Exercise his right of first refusal, in essence matching Khan's offer for the team.

    In reality, Kroenke probably has only two options: maintain his 40 percent share or sell it. Because in pretty strong language Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that the league wasn't inclined to bend its cross-ownership rules to allow Kroenke to match Khan's offer.

    "Let's cross that bridge when we get to it," Goodell said. "But I don't think so. I think everyone understands we're going to respect our policies and make sure we treat everyone the same.

    "We have great respect for Stan, and he has to make some choices. But he also understands the league wants to continue to have policies that we think are beneficial to the league in general and fair to all 32 clubs."

    The cross-ownership rule prevents owning a controlling share in an NFL team in one market while owning majority interest in another major-league team (baseball, basketball, hockey) in a competing NFL city.

    Kroenke owns the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association and the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League.

    As part of Khan's Rams sale agreement Feb. 12, Kroenke has 60 days to declare his intentions with respect to Rams ownership. April 12 is three weeks away, so the time for making a decision is drawing near.

    The "vetting" of Khan and the entire sales process can go only so far until Kroenke declares his intention.

    "Probably the big question is what is Stan Kroenke going to do?" Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. "And I don't know the answer to that."

    Blank is one of nine owners who make up the NFL's finance committee. The finance committee will consider Khan's bid to purchase the Rams and ultimately make a recommendation to the full league membership.

    The Post-Dispatch interviewed six of the nine finance committee members Monday. In so many words, Philadelphia's Jeffrey Lurie, Tampa Bay's Joel Glazer and Jacksonville's Wayne Weaver declined to comment, in part noting that much work remains to be done in the process.

    While also noting that the process is not yet complete, two finance committee members spoke favorably of Khan and his chances to gain approval.

    "I look forward to meeting him," Blank said. "I know from what I read, he sounds like a wonderful gentleman. ... From what I know, I certainly don't see any problems."

    As is the case with Blank, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has not yet met Khan.

    (Khan must meet with the finance committee before the committee gives its recommendation and is expected to do so after Kroenke's declaration.)

    "I think indications are that (Khan's) strength of wealth is there," Irsay said. "His background and those sort of things are really positive. It's not something that we've got our final reports on, but all indications are that it's trending in a positive direction for him."

    But it's not as if Khan will get a free pass. According to one league source attending these owners meetings in Orlando, there will be questions about his current dispute with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS disallowed some tax shelters utilized by Khan and asked him to pay $68 million in additional taxes. Khan paid the taxes but has appealed the IRS decision.

    The league source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, indicated that the IRS issue probably would be a "ripple" in the approval process, but not any kind of full-blown controversy.

    As reported in Sunday's Post-Dispatch, Kroenke has spent some time recently getting to know Khan, who immigrated to the United States from Pakistan at age 16 and rose to billionaire status in the auto parts industry.

    "In many ways, he's the classic American success story," Kroenke said. "How do you not respect that, and what he's done?"

    As for his time spent with Khan, Kroenke said, "He looks like a very capable guy, and he's certainly a likable guy."

    So does Kroenke think he could work with Khan as Rams owners?

    "He seems like a nice fellow, a very nice fellow," was Kroenke's answer.

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  • MauiRam
    Will Kroenke make a sweetheart deal?
    by MauiRam
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/18/2010

    Stan Kroenke's attempt to finesse the NFL cross-ownership rules may not involve a transfer of hockey and basketball teams in Denver to his family. But rather a sale — to his wife, Ann.

    According to a couple of league sources that tactic could be Kroenke's best hope of getting the NFL to approve his attempt to purchase the 60 percent of the Rams currently up for sale by siblings Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.

    As wealthy as Kroenke is, he comes in second place at home. At $2.9 billion, he was ranked No. 342 on Forbes' most recent annual list of world billionaires. His wife, Ann, heiress to much of the Wal-Mart fortune, was ranked No. 297 at $3.2 billion.

    So what happens if Ann Walton Kroenke "simply" writes a check for the Denver Nuggets NBA team and the Colorado Avalanche NHL team? How does the NFL react to that?

    "Independent wealth means a lot," one league source said.

    And that's what Ann Walton Kroenke has.

    So at face value, that option might be more palatable to league owners than having Kroenke simply transfer ownership of the Nuggets or Avalanche to some combination of his wife, his son, Josh, or daughter, Whitney.

    When asked if that would be an acceptable path, NFL senior vice president Greg Aiello replied: "I can't answer that question. It's not my question to answer. That's something that has to be decided by NFL ownership. And right now, they can't answer that because they don't know what he's proposing."

    Even those close to Kroenke believe Kroenke has yet to decide on a precise path to finesse the cross-ownership rules.

    But one avenue seems definitely closed: selling the Denver teams to an outsider. Whether it's sports properties or other business properties, Kroenke's history has been as a buyer and a keeper — not a seller of assets. And because he also owns the building the Nuggets and Avalanche play in — the Pepsi Center — it has proved to be a profitable setup.

    If Kroenke sold the Nuggets and Avalanche to his wife, it appears he could maintain ownership of the Pepsi Center. There's nothing in the NFL's cross-ownership rules that would prevent him from keeping the venue. So that would make the purchase cheaper for his wife.

    In 2000, just a few months after the St. Louis Rams defeated Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV, Kroenke purchased 93.5 percent of the Avalanche, Nuggets and Pepsi Center. The overall value of those assets at the time was $450 million.

    It is a violation of the NFL's cross-ownership rules for Kroenke to own the Nuggets and Avalanche once he has controlling interest in the Rams. Kroenke already owns 40 percent of the Rams; he will own the full 100 percent of the team if he's successful in his bid to buy Rosenbloom's and Rodriguez's 60...
    -04-18-2010, 12:20 PM
  • MauiRam
    Kroenke waiting for move on Rams
    by MauiRam
    Bernie Miklasz bjmiklasz @post-dispatch.com 314-340-8192
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    06/14/2009

    One of the more compelling aspects of the Rams' sale is the role of Stan Kroenke in the proceedings. Rams owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, team insiders and other NFL executives and owners are wondering: what is Kroenke going to do? Is he going to make a play for control of the team? And if so, when?

    Don't expect Kroenke to lay his plan out for us. He's staying underground on the Rams' front and not returning media calls. He's not about to give away any clues on his Rams' strategy.

    Kroenke, worth an estimated $3 billion, is a busy sports mogul. He owns 40 percent of the Rams. He owns the NBA Denver Nuggets, the NHL Colorado Avalanche and the Pepsi Center in Denver. He owns the Major League Soccer franchise in Colorado and the stadium that houses the team. He is the majority shareholder (28.3 percent) of the prestigious Arsenal soccer club in the English Premier League. Kroenke owns a pro lacrosse team, an arena football team, and a Colorado-based cable-sports network.

    And Kroenke's real-estate development company continues to prosper, making him one of the nation's wealthiest individuals according to Forbes magazine.
    So does Kroenke want to buy the available 60 percent ownership block and challenge NFL rules that prohibit cross ownership? Or is he content to hang onto his 40 percent, oversee his other sports properties, concentrate on accumulating more Arsenal stock and avoid a skirmish with the NFL?

    After speaking to a couple of Kroenke associates — sorry, no names — I think I have a general handle on his approach. But I can't be sure. Remember, this is the same Kroenke who made no noise about being interested in the Nuggets and the Avalanche, only to swoop in and buy them at the end of the process. Kroenke waited until the collapse of Bill Laurie's tentative deal for the teams, then made his move. And Laurie is Kroenke's brother-in-law, but Laurie knew nothing of Kroenke's intentions.

    I believe Kroenke will sit and wait for others to make the first move.

    It makes sense, because Kroenke has the right of first refusal on the Rams' sale. He can match any offer for the available 60 percent. By hanging back, Kroenke won't set the market and take the risk of bidding against himself to meet Rosenbloom's price. Instead, it's smarter for Kroenke to wait for another interested party to set the market, then react accordingly.

    If another bidder makes an offer on the lower side, and the price is acceptable to Rosenbloom, then Kroenke can match the offer and get a relative bargain. He can save millions of dollars on the purchase. If Kroenke gets a great deal, then he may be more inclined to fight the league over that 60 percent.

    And what if another bidder rushes in and pays whatever Rosenbloom-Rodriguez...
    -06-14-2009, 11:26 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Bernie: A Look At Kroenke's Strategy
    by r8rh8rmike
    05.10.2010 11:00 am
    Bernie Bytes: A Look at Kroenke’s Strategy
    By Bernie Miklasz


    The latest twist in Stan Kroenke’s pursuit of the Rams comes from Daniel Kaplan of The SportsBusiness Journal. Kaplan reports that Kroenke is attempting to get around the NFL’s cross-ownership rules by turning the team over to his wife, Ann Walton Kroenke. According to Kaplan, Kroenke pitched that proposal last week during a meeting with the NFL Finance Committee, which is overseeing the sales process. The SBJ reported that Kroenke’s proposal included other options, but no specifics were cited.

    Kroenke owns 40 percent of the Rams and opted to match Shahid Khan’s bid to purchase the controlling 60 percent interest from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez. But because Kroenke owns the NBA Denver Nuggets and NHL Colorado Avalanche, teams that compete for Denver sports dollars with the NFL Broncos, he is prohibited from owning an NFL franchise in another market.

    Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Kroenke would likely try to circumvent the rules by selling or transferring the Nuggets and Avs to his wife. And that option is still on the table for consideration, NFL sources say. But Kroenke seems to be exploring every possible angle in an attempt to satisfy the NFL. Kroenke’s apparent willingness to transfer or sell the Rams to his wife is just the latest scenario to be floated.

    Let’s take a look. Here are some of my initial thoughts:

    * Ann Kroenke certainly has the money to buy the Rams; she’s listed on the Forbes annual survey of the wealthiest Americans with an estimated worth of $3.2 billion. (Kroenke’s estimated worth is $2.7 billion.) But it isn’t so simple.

    * The Rams’ ownership agreement stipulates that Stan Kroenke has the right of first refusal on the Rams’ sale. Not Ann Kroenke. Stan Kroenke had the right to match Khan’s bid. Not his wife. So on the surface, how could the NFL allow this?

    * Or is the NFL willing to compromise by agreeing to let Kroenke match and take over as the 100 percent owner of the Rams as long as he agrees to quickly sell the team to his wife?

    * Why didn’t Ann Kroenke simply bid for the Rams at the time the Rosenblooms had their 60 percent share on the market? This would have been easier than (A) having Stan Kroenke match Khan and (B) Kroenke having to work around the cross-ownership guidelines. (Likely answer: the Kroenkes didn’t want to get in a bidding battle with Khan that would drive the price up; they probably preferred to wait, let Khan make a reasonable bid, then match. I’m only guessing here.)

    * Do any of these possible scenarios really satisfy the spirit of the NFL rule on cross ownership? Let’s say Kroenke sells the NHL and NBA teams to his wife, or transfers them to his son, Josh. Fine. But the Nuggets-Avalanche and Pepsi Center revenues would still...
    -05-11-2010, 12:01 PM
  • Nick
    Surprise! Kroenke decides to exercise his matching rights
    by Nick
    Surprise! Kroenke decides to exercise his matching rights
    By Jim Thomas
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    04.12.2010 6:46 pm

    Stan Kroenke, the Missouri native and collector of pro sports franchises, is trying to collect another. Kroenke has decided to exercise his matching rights and attempt to purchase the 60 percent share of the team currently owned by Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez

    Yes, the same 60 percent that Urbana, Ill., businessman Shahid Khan had entered into a sales agreement with Rosenbloom and Rodriquez.

    As part of Khan’s sales agreement with Rosenbloom and Rodriguez, Kroenke was given 60 days to declare his intentions with respect to his share of the team.

    Kroenke took it to the wire, taking the full 60 days before making his declaration Monday.
    -04-12-2010, 05:08 PM
  • Azul e Oro
    Will Kroenke's soccer moves affect The Rams?
    by Azul e Oro
    Would he sell his stake in The Rams to finance this?

    From the Associated Press:

    Updated Mar 26, 2010 2:58 PM ET
    American businessman Stan Kroenke has increased his stake in Arsenal and is now within 10 shares of the threshold that forces him to make a takeover bid.

    Kroenke, who owns 29.9 percent of Arsenal, acquired seven more shares Thursday at a cost of 8,500 pounds ($12,650) each, the Premier League club said Friday in a statement to London's Plus Market stock exchange.





    If the Denver-based businessman reaches 30 percent, he has to make an offer for the remaining shares in Arsenal Holdings plc.

    If Kroenke manages to acquire more than 50 percent of the shares he will gain legal control of the club. If he reaches 90 percent he can compulsorily purchase the remaining shares.

    But if he fails to surpass the 50 percent level, he is prohibited from making another takeover bid for at least a year - unless asked to do so by the club.

    Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov - the club's second-largest shareholder - signaled his interest in a takeover in December by taking his stake beyond 26 percent through his investment vehicle Red and White Holdings.

    Unlike Kroenke, Usmanov has not been invited on the board of directors.

    Kroenke, who first bought a 9.99 percent stake in Arsenal in April 2007, also owns the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.

    Arsenal remains in contention for the Premier League and Champions League titles this season. The club is two points behind leader Manchester United going into Saturday's match at Birmingham, and faces Barcelona on Wednesday in the first leg of their European quarterfinal.
    -03-27-2010, 02:31 AM
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