Hill-Wood confirms Arsenal 'lock-down' extension

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has announced an extension of the 'lock-down' agreement by club directors on the sale of shares in the club.

The move appears to rule out the possibility of a takeover bid in the immediate future at least.

Hill-Wood announced that club directors would only sell their stake to "permitted persons" before April 2009 and had to give fellow board members 'first option' until October 2012. However, there was a termination clause in the agreement in October 2010.

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Hill-Wood said: "Members of the board are committed long-term shareholders and to strengthen the current position they have entered into a new agreement which replaces the existing lock-down agreement which expires next April.

"Under the new agreement, the board members have agreed not to dispose of any of their interests in the club before April 18, 2009, other than to certain permitted persons such as close family.

"After that date, for the remainder of the term of the agreement, they can only sell their shares to another person if the other parties to the agreement do not wish to buy them. The agreement is for five years (until 18 October 2012), although it can be terminated early by the parties on its third anniversary (18 October 2010)."

He added in his AGM statement: "There has been much recent media coverage surrounding the share ownership of the group, following the arrival of two new major shareholders in the past year.

"I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise to all shareholders that the Arsenal board is committed to the principle of developing the long-term stability of the club through maintaining a business that pays its own way.

"We had a very successful financial performance over the past year. Together with our very promising start to the season, in which Arsene Wenger's team has won 12 of our first 13 matches, we are all very encouraged with the current performances of our club both on and off the field."

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