Billionaire Usmanov made $1.3 billion offer for control of Arsenal
By Polina Devitt and Dasha Afanasieva
(Reuters) - Arsenal's second-largest investor, Alisher Usmanov, made a $1.3 billion offer to buy out the soccer club's majority owner Stan Kroenke, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters, confirming earlier reports.
Usmanov, a Russian billionaire who owns 30 per cent of the English Premier League club, made the offer in a letter to Kroenke, the club's American shareholder who controls a 67 percent stake, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
Red and White Holdings, Usmanov's investment vehicle, declined to comment, while Arsenal FC was not immediately available to comment and Kroenke could not be reached.
Usmanov's approach, which he made last month, valued the club at $2 bln, the FT said.
Kroenke has yet to formally respond, effectively rejecting the offer, the source told Reuters.
Although Kroenke did not immediately dismiss the idea, he has indicated he is not interested in selling his stake to Usmanov or anyone else, the FT said.
Arsenal fans have been disappointed by the club's performance this season and manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday a decision on his future will be made at a board meeting following the FA Cup final clash against Chelsea this month.
The Frenchman, who is out of contract at the end of the campaign, is preparing for the final Premier League game of the season against Everton with a faint hope of finishing in the top-four for the 21st consecutive season.
If Arsenal fail to clinch a top-four place it will have a significant financial impact for the club as it they will not qualify for the lucrative Champions League competition.
Arsenal Holdings made a pre-tax profit of 2.9 million pounds in 2016, on revenue of 353.5 million pounds ($461 million).
($1 = 0.7672 pounds)
(Additional reporting by Shalini Nagarajan in Bengaluru; editing by Alexander Smith)