Gunners takeover saga takes new twist
Arsenal have moved closer towards a takeover after the club's third-largest shareholder reportedly began the process of selling her stake. Lady Bracewell-Smith, who holds nearly 16% of the club's shares, has appointed bankers to find a buyer for the shares, according to the Evening Standard. Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov and Stan Kroenke have long been fighting for control of the club and if either bought a notable amount of Bracewell-Smith's stock, it would trigger a formal takeover bid. Kroenke reportedly needs as few as 10 shares to reach the threshold. He holds 29.9% of shares, the highest figure allowed by Stock Exchange rules without a takeover bid. Usmanov's Red and White Holdings have 26%. Bracewell Smith could get £80million if she sells out altogether and is understood to have hired Blackstone, a US group, to find a buyer, a move which could imply she is not intending to sell to fellow director Kroenke. The decision is something of a surprise as Bracewell-Smith has often insisted she has no intention of selling her stake. Arsenal offered no comment on the report.
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