Usmanov: No Arsenal takeover...yet

The Russian billionaire vows to wait at least six months before launching any takeover.

     Alisher Usmanov has the
    "necessary funds" [AFP]
    Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's company have confirmed they will not launch a takeover bid for Premier League club Arsenal for at least six months.

    Red and White Holdings Limited is Arsenal's largest shareholder and have been linked to an aggressive takeover of the Premier League leaders over the last year.

    "Red and White has the necessary funding to increase its stake further," the company said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

    "However, it confirms that it will not acquire a shareholding in Arsenal which would trigger an obligation to make an offer for the shares in Arsenal."

    On February 15, Red and White said that it held more than 24 percent of the team's shares but did not disclose the exact figure.

    "Red and White is delighted with the excellent results of the club on the field and would encourage all parties to focus on a trophy winning conclusion to the domestic and European campaigns," the statement said.

    Arsenal travels to AC Milan on Tuesday for the second leg of the Champions League's second round after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

    Red and White is owned by the Uzbek-born Usmanov and London-based investor Farhad Moshiri. Former Arsenal vice chairman David Dein is the company's chairman.

    In October, Arsenal took steps to rule out an unwanted takeover by making sure board members can't sell their shares in the club to an outsider.

    That agreement runs until April 2009, and club directors have to give other board members first option until October 2012.

    Red and White said it reserved the right to announce a possible offer if it received a recommendation or an agreement from the Arsenal board, a third party made an offer for the club or if there was a change to the board member's lockdown agreement on selling shares.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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