Alisher Usmanov buys more Arsenal shares, moves closer to football’s first hostile takeover?


28th, September 2007

00010.jpgPerhaps ominously for Gooners who are quite content with the status quo, podgy Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his stake in Arsenal to 23%, just a week after saying he wanted at least a 25% share in the club. If Usmanov, who frankly looks not very much like Harold Bishop from Neighbours, gets to 30%, he then has to make a takeover offer for Arsenal. The purchase is reported to have cost the billionaire roughly £6m, at £10,000 a share.

Nothing puts me off in football more than talk of shares and takeovers, but with another Russian billionaire playing manager over in west London, I think these are worrying times for English football. Arsenal are in rude health, financially, and they don’t need to be bailed out by a billionaire – but money talks louder than any chairman, manager or set of fans ever could, so there’s a depressing sense of the inevitable about Usmanov gradually increasing his share of the Arsenal pie. I wouldn’t like to play Risk against this guy.
And let’s not forget that American billionaire Stan Kroenke holds a 12.19% stake in Arsenal – if he decided to sell his stake to Usmanov, which is possible, then the Russian would be in the box seat, with more than a third of the club’s shares in his pocket.

Posted in Arsenal, Transfers & Rumours

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