I’ve heard this evening from a normally very reliable source – if you’re on Twitter you’ll know who – that Alisher Usmanov now controls 30 per cent of Arsenal shares. They may not all be in his name yet, unless he has been doing a lot of paperwork over the last couple of days, but he apparently controls them.
The story coming out of the Usmanov camp is that they wanted to avoid a public countdown to the 30 per cent figure of 18,666 shares, so chose to keep some shares at arms length – in different names or not actually purchased, but just with agreements to purchase – until they had enough arranged to be over 30 per cent. There is nothing illegal about this, as only company directors have to disclose every share transaction at the time, and should also disclose arrangements with others (‘acting in concert’). Usmanov does not have those obligations at present.
Thirty per cent has of course been his long-standing target figure, though the goalpost of the Premier League rules has potentially shifted a bit since the quest started, making it a less meaningful figure.
If he has reached the milestone and the shares are now all in his name, or that of Red & White Holdings, then we can expect a stock market announcement very soon, as whole percentage milestones must all be reported for any significant shareholding (above 10%).
Without official confirmation I am not going to go further – I accept that there is the possibility of disinformation coming out of the Usmanov camp in order to gauge or even provoke a reaction – but if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that Arsenal shareholdings are a bit of a pet subject of mine. If you’re not a regular reader or just want a reminder, below is a list of my Usmanov- and share-related blog posts, with the most recent first. Whatever question you have about Usmanov or Arsenal shares, I can (almost) guarantee the answer is in these posts somewhere. But if not, feel free to ask.
Three to do with the shares traded on Plus Markets last week:
40 Shares traded on 28 August – or were they?
Plus Markets trying to make me look like a crazy fool!
The final story (I hope)
Who owns all Arsenal shares? (as at end of July)
Arsenal shares traded on Plus Markets since Jan 2011
The Arsenal Shares Mystery – why does Usmanov want 30% anyway?
Change in PL rules – so does 30% for Usmanov mean anything?
What would a rights issue mean for Arsenal?
Alisher Usmanov Q&A – Everything Arsenal fans need to know
How many Arsenal shares does Usmanov own now? (ie in April 2012)
Usmanov given stately home, allegedly
Usmanov and his (almost) 30% shareholding
Follow me on twitter (or follow this blog) for further updates: @AngryOfN5