All the info you need as Russian oligarch Usmanov makes bold move for majority control from American rival owner
ALISHER USMANOV today made a staggering £1BILLION bid to buy Arsenal, the Premier League club he part-owns.
The Russian oligarch is worth £11.2bn and made a play to take over the majority running of the club from rival American Stan Kroenke.
But the US businessman is reportedly reluctant to sell after being written to by Usmanov last month – who values the club at £1.6bn.
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But it is thought Usmanov his bid would be rejected, but hoped he would gain traction with fans disillusioned with “Silent Stan”.
It is set to rumble on – but let us break down the ownership of the club and give a bit of context and history to this seismic news out of north London…
So who really owns Arsenal?
Stan Kroenke, 69, owns 67 per cent of the Gunners having bought his first shares in 2007 – becoming majority stakeholder in 2011.
The real estate and sports mogul has a portfolio of sports teams including NFL side LA Rams, basketball’s Denver Nuggets, MLS outfit Colorado Rapids and ice hockey team Colorado Avalanche.
It is fair to say he is not a popular man, and is credited with Arsenal’s slump alongside manager Arsene Wenger – indeed, his nickname is Silent Stan, because rarely does interviews.
That is in stark contrast to Usmanov, the second biggest shareholder with 30.5 per cent of the Emirates club having first bought into the club in 2007.
The 63-year-old Russian oligarch has interests in metals, telecoms, media and mining and is worth a staggering £11.2bn.
He is totally the opposite to Kroenke in that he is hugely outspoken, and once blamed Kroenke for Arsenal’s failings this season – not under-fire Arsene Wenger.
He said: “I do not think that the coach alone is to be blamed for what is happening. Some continuity is needed.
“This includes the need to prepare a successor for Wenger, but in a very respectful way. I can suggest that Wenger himself can prepare a successor.
“I personally, unfortunately, am fully isolated from decision-making in the club. All the responsibility for the fate of the club rests with the main shareholder.”
The other 2.5 per cent of the club are owned by fans – as an Arsenal supporter, you can buy slices of shares, given that one share is currently around £18,000 on the stock market.
What is the ownership history of Arsenal?
They were a mutually owned club in their amateur days, but turned into a limited company in 1893 when they became professional.
Fulham’s owner Henry Norris bought them in 1910 and moved them to Highbury, and by the time World War Two came around, Tory politicians Samuel Hill-Wood and Sir Bracewell Smith were in control.
When Bracewell Smith died, it was passed down to his children and grandchildren – with grandson Sir Charles Bracewell-Smith giving his shares to Indian-born wife Nina, who sold them on to Kroenke.
Hill-Wood also gave his shares to his son Denis and then grandson Peter, who sold his eventually onto David Dein and diamond dealer Danny Fiszman.
Dein sold his shares to Usmanov, while in April 2011, two days before Fiszman’s death from cancer, he sold his Arsenal shares to Kroenke’s KSE.