Alisher Usmanovs’s Red & White holdings has increased its stake in Arsenal from 28% to 29% it was announced today.
Last week speculation mounted that Usmanov wanted to the cross the 30% threshold to allow him access to company accounts. Although his stake would not allow him any control, nor veto any decisions made by owner Stan Kroenke, it would permit him to publicly scrutinise decisions made by the current board.
At a time when fan dissatisfaction is high, due to on-pitch failure and increased ticket and membership prices, Usmanov is likely to make further statements to win favour with fans. However, like an opposition politician, it’s easy to say the right things when you don’t have to follow up on them.
However, the Arsenal board have made unpopular decisions in recent months and Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis strongly defended price rises at a meeting held by the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust earlier this month. Fans are anxious to see investment in the team and this could go some way to easing frustration ahead of the new season.
Arsenal’s ownership is essentially a dupoly, the much vaunted pluraility of ownership gone by the wayside since Kroenke outmaneuvered the Uzbeki to seal his takeover in April, and while many smaller shareholders remain, the two largest now own 96% of the club.