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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 18, 2007

Usmanov buys second largest stake in Arsenal

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has increased his shareholding in Arsenal after his investment company Red and White Holdings Limited raised their stake in the club to 21%.

ARSENAL SHARHOLDINGS

DIRECTORS (Total 45.45%)

Daniel Fiszman 24.11%
Lady Bracewell-Smith 15.9%
Richard Carr 4.4%
Peter Hill-Wood (Chair) 0.8%
Lord Harris of Peckham 0.09%
Ken Friar 0.07%
Sir Chips Keswick 0.06%
Keith Edelman (MD) 0.04%

MAIN INDIVIDUALS (33.19%)

Red & White Holdings 21%
Stan Kroenke 12.19%

The purchase, which was announced on Tuesday morning to the Stock Exchange, makes Usmanov's company the club's second-highest shareholder behind Danny Fiszman, who has 24%.

Usmanov, who formed the company alongside fellow investor Farhad Moshiri specifically to hold equity in the north London club, first bought into Arsenal when he paid former vice-chairman David Dein around £75million for his 14.65% holding in August.

Dein left the club in April over differences with the board over investment possibilities - with American businessman Stan Kroenke's potential involvement thought to be the main sticking point.

But Dein is the chairman of Red and White Holdings Ltd and looks certain to remain a key figure as the debate over the Gunners' future continues.

The club release their financial results on Monday, with the move to the Emirates Stadium expected to have helped them cut the gap between themselves and the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

When Usmanov first emerged as an investor, he announced his intention to continue a process of accumulating shares - something he now appears to be making good on.

He said at the time: 'Arsenal as a business is undervalued. My aim is to steadily increase my package because I think the value of it will grow and will soon reach a higher level. The club has everything to achieve it.'

And while there is sure to be speculation about the Uzbekistan launching a full-scale takeover bid, the club's current board are already on record as being opposed to such a move.

Managing director Keith Edelman insists the club are not in need of investment and that manager Arsene Wenger has ample funds to spend.

Meanwhile Fiszman, who is seen as the key to any takeover bid, has also given assurances to the Arsenal Supporters' Trust that he has not intention of selling his shares.

Wenger maintains it iss business as usual ahead of Arsenal's Champions League clash with Sevilla despite the news of Usmanov's increased his shareholding in the club.

The purchase - which was announced this morning to the Stock Exchange - makes Usmanov's investment company, Red and White Holdings Limited, the club's second-highest shareholder behind Danny Fiszman.

'I am responsible for the results at the club and not for the rest,' said Wenger, who earlier this month agreed a new three-year deal with Arsenal.

'People will buy and sell shares or not want to sell shares only if a club is doing well.

'My job is to make sure the club does well.'

Wenger insisted: 'I am not concerned about a Russian takeover I am concerned about tomorrow's game. It will not disrupt anything.

'As we said many times, the shares are 50% inside the board and 50% outside the board. That will not change anything.'

Wenger has an excellent working relationship with the current board, which proved pivotal in his decision to stay at the club he has transformed over the past decade.

The Arsenal manager sees no reason to believe that will change.

'What is important to me is that the board have faith in me and let me to work like I want to work, support me when I want support and give the feeling to the outside that there is unity inside,' said the Frenchman.

'It difficult to be successful when everyone is successful there is no good harmony any more it is very difficult.

'I try to do my job well. I have continued because I had support inside the club.'

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