Usmanov ‘loves’ Arsenal and won’t sell


Alisher Usmanov won’t clear the way for Stan Kroenke to complete a full takeover of the Arsenal after revealing that he isn’t selling his 27 per cent stake in the club.

The Russian billionaire is said to be upset after Kroenke triggered a buyout of the Gunners when securing a controlling stake in the club on Monday. “I’m not going to sell my stake,” said Usmanov, who doesn’t hold a place on Arsenal board. “I love Arsenal, that’s why I’m a shareholder.”

The news will please The Arsenal Supporters Trust who have voted unanimously to retain a stake in the club. Kroenke triggered a mandatory offer for the whole of Arsenal’s share capital at £11,750 per share after taking his holding to 63% over the weekend. Usmanov acquired his shares over the past four years at prices ranging from £8,500 to £11,500.

If had sold to Kroenke, delisting may have become mandatory. That would have left the supporters without a stake in the club and less transparency or oversight.

The Russian businessman first bought a stake in Arsenal in 2007 and became the club’s largest shareholder the following year. That precipitated a lockdown agreement among Arsenal’s directors including Danny Fiszman and Nina Bracewell-Smith, who have since chosen to sell to Kroenke.

Usmanov is said to have attempted to block Kroenke’s deal in a dramatic move on Sunday night, when he trumped the American’s offer to Bracewell-Smith. But his higher offer was turned down.


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