By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Alisher Usmanov is today “considering” whether to sell his 27 per cent stake in Arsenal to Stan Kroenke, Goal.com UK can reveal.
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The Uzbek-born billionaire and his business partner Farhad Moshiri are the club’s second largest shareholders and their stake is crucial to Kroenke taking private control.
Sources close to Usmanov have told Goal.com UK that the pair were completely unaware before the story broke on Sunday afternoon that Kroenke had reached agreements to take his personal shareholding to 62 per cent.
Usmanov’s investment vehicle Red and White Holdings has an offer of £11,750 per share on the table from Kroenke and, although he has said in the past that he does not want to sell, it could be one that is impossible to refuse.
His total stake is worth a combined £198 million, which would represent a tidy profit for the third richest man in Russia, who has acquired his holding at various prices ranging from £8,500-£11,500 per share over the last four years.
“We are considering the offer,” a Red and White source told Goal.com UK. “But there is no strict timetable at the moment.”
Usmanov and Moshiri are waiting to receive the formal offer document from Kroenke’s company, Kroenke Sports Enterprises. Once the offer is received it triggers a window of between 21 days and three months for shareholders to either accept or decline it.
Usmanov’s current holding does not give him any say in the day-to-day activity at the club. He is entitled to four seats in the director’s box at Emirates Stadium but has not been invited on to the Arsenal board.
Kroenke has said today that it is not his intention to de-list the company from Plus Markets – the junior stock exchange on which they are traded - and take Arsenal private.
But once he gets above 75 per cent, he would be in a position to do so and if he acquires more than 90 per cent of Arsenal’s shares, he could consider a compulsory purchase of any remaining shares. This would mean that Arsenal’s 1,200 minority shareholders would have no choice but to cash in their holding.