Usmanov Attempts to Prevent Kroenke Arsenal Takeover

May 27, 2011

Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire and second largest shareholder in English Premier League soccer club Arsenal, is attempting to block American Stan Kroenke’s bid to take full control of the club.

Kroenke became the majority shareholder last month after buying the stock belonging to Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and the late Danny Fizsman and as a result, was forced to table a formal takeover for all the club’s shares.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) indicated that they would not be selling their eight per cent holding, as well as encouraging Usmanov to retain his stock with spokesman Tim Payton stating: “We still advise small shareholders to hold their shares because it’s about joint custodianship of the club.”

The Russian has been purchasing shares at US$23,000 each from minority holders in recent weeks and in doing so, has increased his shareholding slightly to just over 27 per cent.

This represents a $2,458 increase on the $20,485 he has been paying for shares to date, and a spokesman for Usmanov’s Red & White Holdings Ltd, which the Russian created to purchase club stock, indicated that formal offers could be sent in the next day.

Kroenke, who owns approximately 64 per cent of the club, has offered $19,256 per share to holders who have until today, May 27, to accept his offer.

Usmanov has also made it clear that he does not intend to sell his shares to Kroenke, whilst the American has refused to meet his counterpart to discuss plans for the club going forward.