Red and White Holdings Limited, an investment vehicle created by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, has bought more shares in Arsenal, pushing his stake in the club up by 2 per cent to 23 per cent.
The purchase is reported to have cost about £6m, at roughly £10,000 a share.
A statement read: “Red and White Holdings Limited (‘Red & White’) today announces, in accordance with its intentions stated on the 30th August, that it has increased its shareholding and now holds a 23 per cent stake in Arsenal Holdings plc (‘Arsenal’).”
Earlier this week, Arsenal’s annual financial results to 31 May 2007 showed that income had risen 46% to £200.8m, up from £137.2m a year before.
The Arsenal board argued that the results showed that there was no need for a wealthy individual backer, and insisted that it was not about to sell up.
Usmanov has yet to meet with Arsenal officials and hairman Peter Hill-Wood is wary of the Russian’s intentions.
“He’s certainly not an open book,” Hill-Wood told The Guardian.
“Business is murky in Uzbekistan, and that in itself is an argument against him being involved in Arsenal. I wouldn’t want him to be the owner of the club.
“Stan Kroenke is involved in sport and we have had constructive meetings with him.
“We have never been in better shape financially and do not want anybody to buy the club, but if Kroenke wanted to buy it he would understand it and how to maintain the standards.
“We have not met Usmanov, so I may be speaking prematurely, but he seems a different kettle of fish.”
Usmanov first bought into Arsenal in August when he bought the shares held by former vice-chairman David Deinfor his 14.65% holding.
That holding was increased earlier this month when he bought another two tranches of shares.
Last week Russian media reports said that Mr Usmanov now aims to up his share in Arsenal to at least 25% plus one share which would give him a ‘blocking stake’ in the club.
Should Mr Usmanov reach a 30% stake in the club then he would be obliged to make a takeover offer.