January 15 2010, 8:53 AM
Stan Kroenke, owner of various local sports franchises, is 17 shares short of the 30 percent ownership threshold of European soccer juggernaut Arsenal and will likely make a bid for the team very soon, according to The New York Times. Kroenke is no Mark Cuban or Jerry Jones when it comes to grabbing headlines, but the Times manages to provide some good details in its coverage. Enos Stanley Kroenke was a normal kid from Mora, Missouri, a small town about two hours southeast of Kansas City. His father owned the Mora Lumber Company, and Stan was named after two St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famers: Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial. In the mid-1960s, Stan, a lanky, 6-foot-2 forward on the Cole Camp High School team, was described as a good player and student, albeit quiet. He started at the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1965, eventually earning an M.B.A., and went on to attend law school until illness forced him out. He eventually realized he wasn't going to be a professional basketball player so instead set his sights on owning a team, and his life's work developing shopping centers made that possible. It's well-known that Kroenke is married to Ann Walton, of the monied Wal-Mart family empire, and that many of his shopping centers early on were anchored by Wal-Mart stores, but the Times points out that Kroenke is mostly self-made. His work allowed him to eventually buy the Colorado Rapids, the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Avalanche, as well as the buildings the teams play in and the companies that sell the teams' tickets. He also owns a 40 percent stake in the St. Louis Rams football team, an interest he may sell to finance his bid for Arsenal.