April 29 (CNBC) – Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek told CNBC on Wednesday he’s “very serious” about wanting to buy Arsenal, despite current ownership vowing it does not want to sell the English soccer club.
Ek first floated his interest in buying the team on Twitter after plans to create an elite, breakaway soccer league in Europe collapsed last week following widespread backlash from fans, government figures, former players and other sport observers.
Arsenal was one of the founding clubs behind the short-lived effort known as the European Super League. Arsenal ultimately apologized to supporters for joining, saying in a statement that it was “never our intention to cause such distress.”
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“I want to bring what I think is a very compelling offer to the owners, and I hope they hear me out,” Ek said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “I’m very serious. I have secured the funds for it,” he added.
However, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke said in a joint statement Tuesday with his son and club director, Josh, that they do not plan to sell. The statement acknowledged recent “media speculation regarding a potential takeover bid for Arsenal Football Club.”
“We remain 100% committed to Arsenal and are not selling any stake in the club,” the statement read, according to the Associated Press. “We have not received any offer and we will not entertain any offer.”
The billionaire Kroenke, who also owns the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, acquired full control of Arsenal in 2018 in a deal that valued the team at $2.3 billion, according to The New York Times. Arsenal currently competes in the top-level English Premier League.
Ek, whose offer for the north London-based club is rumored to include some former players such as Thierry Henry, said his interest is rooted in his longtime support for the Gunners, which last won the Premier League title in the 2003-04 season.
“I’ve been an Arsenal fan since I was 8 years old,” said Ek, a 38-year-old Swedish billionaire who founded Spotify in 2006. “Arsenal is my team. I love the history. I love the players and, of course, I love the fans, so as I look at that, I just see a tremendous opportunity to set a real vision for the club, to bring it back to its glory.”
Pressed by CNBC’s David Faber about Kroenke’s lack of interest in a deal, Ek said: “I certainly didn’t expect that this would happen overnight. I’m prepared that this could be a long journey.”
“All I can do is prepare what I think is a very thoughtful offer and bring it to them and hope they hear me out,” Ek added. “I want the club to do better. That’s my primary interest,” he said.