Why Aliko Dangote Ruled Self Out of Bid To Buy Into London's Arsenal FC

Source: AUSTYN OGANNAH - thewillnigeria.com

San Francisco, May 24, (THEWILL) - Nigerian billionaire industrialist, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on Monday ruled himself out of the battle to acquire a 16 per cent stake of Arsenal Football Club of England a few hours after a Sunday Times of London publication named him as one of the nine shortlisted potential buyers by Blackstone, an American finance house.

Dangote, in an email statement he personally signed which THEWILL obtained said, "Following recent media reports of my interest in acquiring 16% of Arsenal Football Club I believe it is necessary to clarify my position. I am a longstanding supporter of Arsenal Football Club and have been involved in conversations around investment in the past.

"However, I can say categorically at this time that I have no intention of investing in the club and will not be acquiring a stake. I wish Arsenal Football Club the best for the future and will continue to follow the team as a fan," he said.

In a conference call later in the day with THEWILL, Aliko maintained that though he had always shown interest in acquiring a stake in Arsenal for over ten years, he said he declined to partake in the current offer because he believed he was being used to jerk up the sale price of the 16 percent stake which belongs to Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

The stake is currently worth 96 million British pounds but Bracewell-Smith is seeking up to 160 million pounds for the shares.

Aliko said he would rather stay away from a bidding war between Arsenal’s two biggest investors, Stan Kroenke, the American sports billionaire and the Russian billionaire, Alisher Usmanov.

The Sunday times report said the stake has attracted interests from investors in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and America.

Whoever acquires the stake between Kroenke and Usmanov may be forced to move for a full takeover offer for the club.