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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Usmanov aims to up Arsenal stake
Alisher Usmanov
Mr Usmanov bought an initial holding last month
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has said he intends to buy a "blocking stake" in football club Arsenal.

Red and White Holdings Ltd, which is co-owned by Mr Usmanov and business partner Farhad Moshiri, currently holds a 21% stake in the London club.

Russian media reported that Mr Usmanov now aims to up his share in Arsenal to at least 25% plus one share.

Should Mr Usmanov reach a 30% stake in the club then he would be obliged to make a takeover offer.

"I want to be in a position that will allow me a blocking stake and will then wait for it to go up in value," Interfax news agency quoted Usmanov as saying in a live broadcast on Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Corporate structure

A "blocking stake" would be a stake high enough to make the corporate running of the club more tricky to carry out without a certain amount of shareholder backing.

"It refers to a stakeholding that would make it difficult for the club to do what it wants," said Harry Philp, of football finance consultants Hermes Sports Partners.

"It is tied up with Arsenal's corporate structure, and the fact that there will be certain actions where the club will need a level of shares behind it before it can go ahead."

Mr Usmanov is a metals magnate with an estimated $5.5bn fortune.

He first bought into Arsenal in August when he paid David Dein around 75m for his 14.65% holding.

That holding was increased this week when he bought another tranche of shares.

Former vice-chairman Mr Dein left the club in April over differences with the board over investment possibilities, with American businessman Stan Kroenke's potential involvement thought to be a major sticking point.

Mr Dein is now the chairman of Red and White Holdings and looks certain to remain a key figure in the future shape of the boardroom composition.

SEE ALSO
Usmanov increases Arsenal stake
18 Sep 07 |  Arsenal
Usmanov ups the ante at Arsenal
18 Sep 07 |  Arsenal
Billionaire buys entire auction
17 Sep 07 |  Entertainment

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