*** Stop Press *** Plus Markets have changed their website and their story 24 hours after notifying the world of these trades! See note at the bottom of the blog post.
On 28 August 40 Arsenal shares were traded on Plus Markets, 20 at £17,050 each and another 20 at £17,150 each (the record high price is currently £17,250 per share).
The reason this is worth talking about is that trades of more than one or two shares at a time are unusual these days – the last time 40 or more were traded in a single day was in October 2011, the time before that in July 2011. Recently as few as three shares have been traded on Plus Markets per month.
At the moment we don’t know. We know for sure it’s not a member of the Arsenal Board (of which only Stan Kroenke currently holds any shares), as Board members must make a public declaration via the stock exchange when they buy or sell any shares in their own company.
There is of course a prime suspect as a buyer: Alisher Usmanov. For reasons best known to himself (see here and here) he still seems to want to get to a 30 per cent shareholding. He admits to owning 18,496 shares, though there are suspicions that he is in control of others that might – with the addition of these 40 – take him over the 30 per cent figure of 18,666.
If the buyer is Mr Usmanov, through the vehicle of Red & White Holdings, then it will be interesting to see whether he owns up to the purchase, or hides it under a nominee account name on the shareholder register.
As I’ve said, there are – or were at the end of July – 8,062 Arsenal shares currently held under nominee names, while there are 10,592 in the name of Red & White Holdings. That’s a total of 18,654, so before today it appears that even if all the nominee-held shares did in fact belong to Mr Usmanov, he’d still be a few short of 18,666. However, with 40 more, he’d be above that figure. So there might be a very interesting announcement soon.
Who is selling the 40 shares?
There’s a very limited pool of people who still have 20 shares or more. There are Kroenke and Usmanov, of course, and Fanshare. After those there are only ten others with 20 or more shares, and I can rule out at least one of those from personal knowledge. I have a hunch who the two sellers might be from the limited selection available, but there’s little point publicly speculating.
So how can we find out for sure who the buyer and seller are?
For the buyer: if Mr Usmanov makes an announcement shortly, it’s him. If he doesn’t, then we do the same as for the seller: we wait for the share register to be updated and have a look to see whose figures have changed by the required amounts. The seller(s) will probably be easy to spot, but the buyer may of course be hiding behind a nominee account.
I want to know everything there is to know about Arsenal shares and Alisher Usmanov, what should I do?
Refer to my previous blogs on the subject. You could start here: Alisher Usmanov Q&A or any of the links in the text above.
Well Plus Markets are really screwing my blogging activities. After writing the post above and about 12,000 people reading it, they removed one of the two trades of 20 shares from their website this afternoon (29th). I have spoken to them about this and they told me that basically they have cocked up: they say they entered the wrong price on the trade the first time, but failed to actually delete the first trade when they put the second one in with the correct price. I must say I’m not entirely convinced by the story, as it’s the second one (from 10:53) that’s now been removed, while the first one (from 10:51) remains. However, it does appear that there was only one trade of 20 shares to report from yesterday. Does that take Usmanov over 30 per cent? It’s still possible – if he was the buyer, rather than a random speculator.
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