Arsenal's parent company, Arsenal Holdings plc, operates as a non-quoted public limited company, whose ownership is considerably different from that of other football clubs. Only 62,217 shares in Arsenal have been issued, and they are not traded on a public exchange such as the FTSE or AIM; instead, they are traded relatively infrequently on PLUS, a specialist market. As of August 25, 2009, a single share in Arsenal has a mid price of £7,150, meaning the club's market capitalisation value is approximately £444.9m. The club made a pre-tax operating profit (excluding player transfers) of £36.7m in the year ending 31 May 2008, from a turnover of £223.0m.
In total, Arsenal FC's board of directors currently hold 45.2% of the club's shares; as of March 2009 the largest shareholder on the board is American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke, who launched a bid for the club in 2007, and as of May 2009 holds 17,613 shares (28.3%). Other directors with significant holdings are Danny Fiszman, who holds 10,025 shares (16.1%), and club chairman Peter Hill-Wood, who owns 500 (0.8%), with all the other directors holding nominal amounts. Former director Nina Bracewell-Smith (wife of the grandson of former chairman Sir Bracewell Smith) holds 9,893 shares (15.9%).
A rival bid to Kroenke's has come from the firm Red & White Securities, which is co-owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov and London-based financier Farhad Moshiri. Red & White launched their bid in August 2007, buying the stake held by former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, and as of February 2009 own 15,555 shares (25.0%) in the club. This has led to press speculation of a bidding war between Kroenke and Usmanov. However, Kroenke has agreed not to purchase more than 29.9% of the club until at least September 2009, while the rest of the board have first option on each others' shares until October 2012.
In April 2008, business magazine Forbes ranked Arsenal as third most valuable football team in the world, after Manchester United and Real Madrid, valuing the club at $1.2bn (£605m), excluding debt. Accountants Deloitte rate Arsenal sixth in the 2009 Deloitte Football Money League, a ranking of the world's football clubs in terms of revenue, with the club earning £209.3m in the 2007–08 season.
Wenger has a strong reputation for unearthing young talent. At Arsenal, Wenger signed young, relatively unknown players such as Patrick Vieira, Francesc Fàbregas, Robin Van Persie and Kolo Touré, and helped their transition to become world-class players. Although Wenger has made some big-money signings for Arsenal, his net spending record is far superior to other leading Premier League clubs. A notable example was the purchase of Nicolas Anelka from Paris St Germain for only £500,000 and his subsequent sale to Real Madrid just two years later for £22.3m
- Group turnover increased to £223.0 million (2007 - £200.8 million) reflecting growth in revenues in the core football business but a reduced level of property activity in the year.
- Broadcasting income up to £68.4 million (2007 - £44.3 million) from new Premier League domestic and overseas TV deals but match day income £94.6 million (2007 - £90.6 million) remained the most important component of the Group’s income.
- Improvement and extension of key player / management contracts resulted in total wage costs increasing to £101.3 million (2007 - £89.7 million).
- Profit before tax of £36.7 million (2007 - £26.9 million excluding exceptional costs) confirms success of Emirates Stadium move and strength of Group’s financial position.
- Group’s net debt of £318.1 million (2007 - £268.2 million) includes £133.5 million (2007 - £62.9 million) of bank loans used to fund investment in the Highbury Square redevelopment works.
We remain firmly committed to sustained investment in the development of the playing squad in a market-place where the income from the new Premier League TV contracts has inevitably created a significant upward pressure on both transfer prices and players’ wage expectations. During the year we have improved and extended the contract terms of a large number of first team players and, of course, of Arsène Wenger himself. As a result, for the first time, the Group’s wage bill has exceeded nine figures at £101.3 million (£2007 - £89.7 million). The wage/turnover ratio for the year, on a football segment basis, remained broadly stable at 48.8% (2007 – 50.6%) and continues to fall within our target range.