Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov (pictured) has reportedly made a UK£1 billion (US$1.3 billion) bid to buy Arsenal Football Club from controlling shareholder Stan Kroenke.
Usmanov, who owns 30 per cent of the Premier League soccer team through his investment vehicle Red & White, is vying to take full control by buying the 67 per cent stake held by Kroenke, reports the Financial Times.
It is unclear whether Kroenke, an American real estate mogul who also owns the Los Angeles Rams National Football League (NFL) team, will sell any portion of his Arsenal holding. According to the FT, Kroenke has yet to formally respond to the offer, which was made last month, although he has ‘informally indicated’ he is not interested in selling to Usmanov or anyone else.
Usmanov, 63, is said to be unhappy with the direction Arsenal are taking under Kroenke, and the pair have clashed in the past. Usmanov is a known supporter of club manager Arsene Wenger, who has been the subject of fan protests throughout this season. The Uzbek-born magnate, whose holdings have included stakes in iron ore and steel group Metalloinvest and telecoms company Megafon, has never been invited to join the Arsenal board.
London-based Arsenal currently sit fifth in the Premier League table and are in danger of missing out on Uefa Champions League qualification for next season for the first time since 1997.
Usmanov, who also serves as the president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), has held shares in Arsenal since 2007, when he teamed up with Farhad Moshiri, now the owner of Everton, to buy a 14.6 per cent stake for UK£75 million.