Billionaire Usmanov Ups Arsenal Stake to 27 per cent

March 23, 2011

Red and White Holdings Ltd., co-owned by Alisher Usmanov, announced yesterday, Marc 22, that the Russian billionaire has increased his holding in English Premier League soccer club Arsenal to more than 27 per cent.

Despite raising his stake in the club, Usmanov remains behind American Stan Kroenke who is the largest individual shareholder in the London club, with 29.9 per cent.

If any party were to cross the 29.99 per cent takeover threshold, under the strict financial rules of the City, they would be obliged to make a formal offer for the remainder of the shares.

Although Usmanov, unlike Kroenke, does not yet have a seat on the Arsenal board, the news has continued his steady accumulation of shares and will fuel speculation that the Gunners are set for more changes behind the scenes.

Despite the Red & White group initially releasing a statement in April last year maintaining that a full-blown offer was not on their agenda and they remained ‘a committed long-term investor in Arsenal’, Usmanov claimed in December that his objective was to bring up a ‘blocking state’ of 29.9%, and from that point he ‘will just keep looking’.

Former director Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith put her family’s 15.9 per cent stake up for sale in April, and Usmanov’s latest dealings could be the result of some minor tradings.

The club’s other major shareholder is non-executive director Danny Fiszman who controls 16 per cent of the shares.