Page last updated at 21:14 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 22:14 UK

Arsenal investor Lady Bracewell-Smith 'to sell shares'

Stan Kroenke at Arsenal
US billionaire Stan Kroenke currently holds 29.98% of Arsenal shares

The Arsenal boardroom power struggle is likely to intensify after the club's fourth-largest shareholder appointed a firm to find a buyer for her shares.

Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who owns 15.9% of shares, has retained US brokers Blackstone to sell her shares.

The move could prompt a bidding war between the two largest shareholders Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov.

Lady Bracewell-Smith was not available for comment but her husband Sir Charles said an imminent sale was "unlikely".

The BBC's business editor Robert Peston said Blackstone has been advising Lady Bracewell-Smith, who left the Arsenal board in 2008, about her stake in the club for about six months.

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She is waiting for an appropriate buyer to make an appropriate offer, our correspondent said.

US billionaire Mr Kroenke currently owns 29.98% of Arsenal shares, while Russian tycoon Mr Usmanov holds 26.29%.

If a shareholder's stake in a company reaches 30%, he or she has to offer to buy the entire stockholding.

Arsenal shares are currently valued at about £10,000 each.

BBC sports reporter Matt Slater said Lady Bracewell-Smith appears to have got frustrated and is now trying to force the pace of a sale.

If Mr Kroenke and Mr Usmanov do not make an offer, or a high enough offer, she would want to see if there is someone else out there who would pay more for the shares, he said.

Mr Kroenke also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets basketball side, the Colorado Rapids MLS football team, and 40% of the NFL's St Louis Rams American football team.

He must reveal by the end of the day his intentions for his stake in the St Louis Rams. Entrepreneur Shahid Khan has made a $750m (£488m) offer for 100% of the Rams, and Mr Kroenke must say whether he will retain his stake or sell it.



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