Page last updated at 21:31 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 22:31 UK

Kroenke raises stake in Arsenal

Stan Kroenke
Kroenke accepted an offer to be a non-executive director at Arsenal in 2008

Arsenal director Stan Kroenke has become the largest shareholder at the club, increasing his stake to 28.3%.

The American tycoon, who joined the board last year, now has a bigger holding than Uzbekistani metals magnate Alisher Usmanov.

It takes Mr Kroenke closer to the 30% threshold that would force him to make an offer for the remaining shares.

The shares were bought from members of the Carr family, including Arsenal director Richard Carr.

Mr Kroneke's company, KSE, paid between £8,500 and £10,500 for each of the 4,839 shares - putting the value of the purchase at more than £41m.

Arsenal directors had a "lockdown" agreement in place, which meant they could not sell their shares to anyone before April 2009, other than a limited number of people, such as family members.

'Stability'

Mr Kroenke's additional investment was supported by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust, who said they had "established a good dialogue" with the American.

"Our position is that stability and plurality in ownership is to the benefit of Arsenal," a Trust spokesman said.

"New chief executive Ivan Gazidis has made a good impression and says he values our role and the importance of custodianship.

"We hope he will build relationships with all shareholders so that the club has stability off the pitch which is a vital ingredient for success on it."

Mr Usmanov, a billionaire, owns more than 25% of the club through investment vehicle Red and White Holdings.

Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith left the Arsenal board in December and could be willing to listen to offers for her 15.9% holding.



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