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Arsenal shareholder battle hots up

Thu 24th Mar 2011 | Clubs Ownership

Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire has reportedly upped his stake in Arsenal to 'over 27per cent'.

The announcement by Red & White Holdings Limited on Tuesday revealed they had upped their stake but did not give any details as to the additional stock acquired.

It is likely that the increase will urge Stan Kroenke, the largest individual shareholder in the Barclays Premier League club, with 29.9per cent to up his stake.

If Kroenke were to do so, under the financial rules of the City, should he cross the 29.99per cent takeover threshold, he would be obliged to make a formal offer for the remainder of the shares.

Speculation has been rife over the last year as to as to whether Usmanov or Kroenke would increase their stake enough to launch a full takeover bid.

However, during April 2010, the Red & White group released a statement maintaining that a full-blown offer was not on their agenda and they remained 'a committed long-term investor in Arsenal'.

Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, whose family owns a 15.9per cent stake, put their shares up for sale in April, and these latest dealings could be the result of some minor tradings.

Non-executive director Danny Fiszman, who controls 16per cent of shares, is the club's other major shareholder.

Arsenal Supporters’ Trust established since 2003 has more than 750 members who collectively speak for approximately 3% of the club’s equity. Approximately 12% of the Club’s equity is owned by small shareholders.

Arsenal’s half year financial figures revealed a loss after tax of £2.5m for the second half of 2010 compares to the profit of £29.2m the club made during the same period in 2009.

Commenting on the figures chairman Peter Hill Wood said; “We continue to operate as a self-funding Club. This brings its own challenges in an increasingly competitive environment but provides the platform for a secure and positive long term future.”


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