Usmanov Raises Arsenal Stake Once More to 29pc

June 21, 2011

Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his shareholding in English Premier League soccer club Arsenal to over 29 per cent.

The move comes to reinforce the businessman’s claims that he would not sell his shares after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke triggered a mandatory buyout offer in April.

Usmanov’s Red and White Holding company said in a statement: “Red & White today announces that it now holds a stake of over 29 per cent in Arsenal Holdings plc.”

Kroenke’s holding in Arsenal currently stands at 66.1 per cent after the American made an initial takeover move for Arsenal in April when he bought the stakes of the late Danny Fiszman (16.1 per cent) and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith (15.9 per cent) for a fee of about £234m (US$378.7m).

The league’s approval of the takeover last month prompted Kroenke to give the club’s remaining shareholders 14 days’ notice on his offer to own 100 per cent.

However, Usmanov insisted he would not sell his shares, a sentiment echoed by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, which owns some of the remaining shares.

Usmanov bought into Arsenal in August 2007, when he bought former vice-chairman David Dein’s take of 14.65 per cent for around £75m ($121.4m).

In December 2009, Usmanov raised his stake to just over 26 per cent.