Sunday, May 23, 2010
Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is reportedly planning to enter the race to snap up the 16% stake of Arsenal's fourth largest shareholder Lady Nina Bracwell-Smith. Dangote, one of Africa's richest men, is said to have registered his interest in the shareholding being sold by Bracewell-Smith, according to The Sunday Times.
The move could spark a takeover battle for the Gunners, with other contenders including its two biggest current investors - Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov - who would be forced to launch a full takeover bid for the club if they secured the stake. Mr Dangote is reportedly a passionate football fan and has the wealth to go head-to-head with sports entrepreneur Kroenke and Russian oligarch Usmanov.
The Nigerian industrialist has stood for the role of president of the Nigerian football association and is believed to have donated cash to the Nigerian national football team.
Mr Dangote founded manufacturing empire Dangote Group and was formerly head of the Nigerian stock exchange. He was named as the 261st richest person in the world on the 2009 Forbes rich list, with an estimated fortune of $2.5 billion.
Finance house Blackstone is now thought to have placed him on the shortlist to buy the Arsenal stake, with Lady Bracewell-Smith is said to be seeking £160 million for her stake after putting it on the sale block earlier this year.