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Sep 15, 2006

Gunners chiefs deny talk of takeover

Arsenal's controlling company has rejected media speculation that it has held unofficial talks regarding a takeover bid.

The Sun had reported on Friday that a consortium lead by a Russian billionaire had approached Arsenal Holdings plc with a view to discussing a potential bid for the club.

However, Arsenal has released a statement rubbishing the claims, stating: 'Arsenal Holdings plc has noted the speculation in the media that it has received an approach or has been in talks which may lead to an offer for the Company.

'The Board of Directors confirms that it is not and has not been in any such talks and has not received any such approach.'

The Sun reported an insider as saying: 'There is an awful lot of activity going on behind the scenes at the moment, some serious discussions.

'The club has had no official approach and the board have not discussed a firm offer.

'However, a number of shareholders are aware of the interest.

'The new group's involvement is at the earliest stages.'

Arsenal have been linked with a potential takeover offer, following speculation that Danny Fiszman, a majority shareholders with a stake of 28 per cent, could possibly be prepared to sell.

A controlling interest in Arsenal has an estimated pricetag of £350m for any would be bidders.

The Sun connected Russian steel magnate Oleg Deripaska, 39, to the alleged consortium. As Russia's sixth-richest man, with an estimated fortune of £4.8billion, and a former business partner of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, he was previously linked with Arsenal three years ago.

A football club in England's capital has become the ultimate display of wealth for Russia's new cash-rich oligarchy, following Abramovich's takeover of Chelsea in June 2003.

Arsenal play Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday where they will go in search of a first Premiership win of the season.

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