Alisher Usmanov, the second largest shareholder in Arsenal FC, has purchased a further 37 shares in the club taking him ever closer to the thirty per cent share needed to trigger a bid for outright ownership.
Red and White Holdings Ltd, the investment vehicle owned by Usmanov did little to silence the takeover rumours by failing to rule out the possibility. A statement by the group said: "At this stage Red & White retains all its options and does not wish for the purposes of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers to reduce its future flexibility and accordingly no particular course of action is ruled in or out."
Speculation of a takeover bid has been rife throughout the season. Usmanov owns a 26.29 per cent share of the club and American Investor Stan Kroenke has a 29.98 percent share. However Kroenke distanced himself from a possible takeover when he announced his intention to buy the remaining 60 per cent stake he would require to own the St Louis Rams NFL franchise. Some insiders feel it is unlikely he could also raise the capital for an Arsenal takeover.
However a further twist may please those who wish to retain the current multi owner model. It has been reported that Lady Bracewell-Smith is looking to sell her 15.9 per cent stake in Arsenal FC but her decision to approach a New York investment bank to find a buyer suggests she is keen to sell to someone outside the current shareholder group.