Tuesday 21 November 2017

Arsenal minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov attempts club takeover with £1bn bid

Usmanov, a Russian metals magnate, owns 30 per cent of the club and has allegedly approached Stan Kroenke, the US sports mogul, to buy full control of Arsenal

Samuel Lovett

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has reportedly made a £1bn bid to buy out rival shareholder Stan Kroenke at Arsenal.

Usmanov, a Russian metals magnate, holds a 30 per cent stake at the Emirates and has approached Kroenke, who owns 67 per cent, to buy full control of the club.

According to the Financial Times, Kroenke has yet to formally respond to the offer.

It's understood the American, a US sports mogul, did not initially dismiss the approach, which was made last month, but has since informally indicated he is not interested in selling his share.

The two businessmen have clashed in the past over the direction of the club, with the Russian concerned by Kroenke's lack of investment.

Speaking to Bloomberg last month, Usmanov argued Arsene Wenger was not entirely to blame for Arsenal's disappointing season but suggested Kroenke and the board were at fault.

"I do not think that the coach alone is to be blamed for what is happening," Usmanov said, before adding that the board – and main shareholder – "bear huge responsibility".

With Arsenal set to miss out on a top-four finish, and the reward of Champions League football that comes with it, the side stand to lose around £50m in revenue next season.

The FT reports that numerous other bidders are circling, though neither Kroenke or Ushamov are planning on disposing their stakes in the club.

Usmanov first acquired Arsenal shares in 2007, when, together with Farhad Moshiri, he bought a 14.6 per cent stake in the club for £75m.

The Russian then went on buy out Moshiri last year, increasing his share hold to 30 per cent.

Kroenke became majority shareholder at Arsenal in 2011 after first buying into the club in 2007. The American has been accused of being an absentee owner and has faced considerable backlash from Arsenal fans in recent seasons.

Independent News Service

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