‘They said they don’t need the money’: Billionaire Spotify CEO Ek claims Arsenal rejected $2.5BN bid, says he’s ready to try again

Spotify magnate Daniel Ek has publicly hit back at reports that Premier League club Arsenal had denied he made a takeover bid of around $2.5 billion, claiming that co-owner Josh Kroenke and his "bankers" turned down the offer.

The co-founder of the music platform has been backed by club legends Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp in his purported bid, which emerged in the wake of fans criticizing Kroenke and his father, Stan, who own Arsenal through their Kroenke Sports Enterprises company.

Tantalizingly for supporters who have protested against the pair since Arsenal's involvement in the much-maligned European Super League was announced, Ek used a social media statement to reveal that he had made a bid featuring a relatively significant level of involvement for fans.

"Inaccurate reports emerged today saying I have not made a bid for Arsenal Football Club," said the 38-year-old Swede, adding that he felt it was "important to correct the record."

"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.

"They replied that they don't need the money. I respect their decision but remain interested and available should that situation ever change."

Arsenal's alleged position could come as some surprise to onlookers given that the Gunners reported losses of around $38 million for the last financial year, down from a profit of around $80 million in 2018.

In a statement accompanying the publication of their financial returns, the club attributed that concerning figure to the implications of the pandemic, which also saw Arsenal announce 55 redundancies in August.

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) have held a constructive meeting with Ek, according to Sky Sports News, which said it had contacted the club for comment.

"A lot of people have been screaming that they want the owner out," said Henry, the club's record scorer, speaking earlier this month.

"We are trying to offer a solution involving the fans and [giving] the DNA of the club back.

"Let's see where it is going to go, because at some point there needs to be a discussion.

"Daniel will not move away. He will be there, waiting to see if they want to sell. That's going to take time – a very long time.

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Arsenal fans hanged an effigy of owner Kroenke as they protested on Friday, while Spotify founder Daniel Ek made an offer. © Reuters
Music to their ears? Billionaire Spotify boss offers to buy Arsenal as Gunners fans HANG effigy of current owner Kroenke

"We know what we want to do. But first and foremost, we need to make sure that we can take over if they are listening."

Underachieving Arsenal are guaranteed a top-half finish in the Premier League ahead of their two final matches of the season next week, when they visit Crystal Palace and host Brighton.

Mikel Arteta's side have a mathematical chance of finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League, although that would probably require Liverpool to lose all three of their remaining games and other results to go in their favor.

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Stan Kroenke and Arsenal supporters © Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs | © Henry Nicholls / Reuters
Not for sale: Arsenal owner Kroenke issues statement amid rumors of takeover bid by club legends Henry, Bergkamp and Vieira

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