Usmanov Now Sole Owner of 30% of Arsenal

There has been a bit of interest in Arsenal shareholdings in recent days, due to the fact that Alisher Usmanov has now become the sole owner of 30.04% or Arsenal shares. What’s going on, you may well have wondered for about half a nano-second. In case you’re still wondering, here are all the facts you need:

Usmanov takes sole control of R&W 29Feb16

What happened?
Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri have jointly owned Arsenal shares for several years in the name of their company, Red & White Holdings. R&W has been a partnership, jointly owned by the two of them, giving them equal rights over the shares they hold – though Usmanov has been the public face of this relationship.
A Russian media outlet reported on 26 February 2016 that Usmanov was about to buy Everton. This was soon followed by reports in England (the Daily Mail website among others) that what was actually happening was that Usmanov was buying Moshiri’s share of R&W. So it appeared that contrary to the Russian reports, it was more likely to be Moshiri who was interested in Everton.
Within a day or so it was announced that Moshiri had indeed bought a 49.9% stake in Everton, then once the working week restarted on 29 February the ISDX exchange confirmed that Usmanov was now the sole holder of R&W’s Arsenal shares.

Everton Moshiri statement

How many Arsenal shares does Usmanov now own?
18,695, making up 30.04% of the total.

When did he last buy any shares?
Prior to this purchase of Moshiri’s half of R&W, there had been no movement for over 18 months.
R&W last bought any Arsenal shares on 1 May 2014 – a block of 8, taking their total to the current figure of 18,695.

Why did Moshiri get rid of his half share of R&W?
Premier League rules say that anyone with a ‘significant interest’ in one club can’t hold any shares in another PL club. A significant interest is defined as 10% or more.

significant interest equals 10 per cent or more

If Moshiri effectively had 15.02% of Arsenal in his name, why didn’t he just sell 5.03% to Usmanov to take him below 10%?
I’m not a lawyer, but I think that for this purpose the whole 30.04% held by R&W could be interpreted as owned by Moshiri, as legally he was a partner in R&W and no doubt could be held fully responsible for its debts – ‘jointly and severally liable’, I think is the legal term. I’m sure the Premier League would be asking questions, anyway.
Or maybe Moshiri just wanted the money.

Will the fact that Usmanov is now the sole owner of the R&W shares make any difference to Arsenal?
No.

Will this mean Usmanov has to make a takeover bid, as he’s now got over 30% on his own?
No – that doesn’t apply if there is a majority shareholder already in place, and in any case it would have applied as soon as R&W got to 30% regardless of how many people owned R&W.

How much did Usmanov pay Moshiri for his half of R&W?
They haven’t said, and it seems unlikely that Usmanov will say. He has previously claimed that he’s never paid more than £14k for an Arsenal share, but I find that hard to believe, as I explain here. The current mid-price is about £15.5k per share, so logic would suggest somewhere close to that, but then again Usmanov and Moshiri have many other deals and joint holdings so no money may actually have changed hands at all. The BBC said the figure was ‘around £200m’, which seems highly unlikely as that would make each share worth about £21.4k, and it’s never been higher than £17.5k. The BBC do not appear to have any hard facts and seem to have plucked a figure from the air.

Will Usmanov now get a seat on the Arsenal board?
No.

Will Usmanov have any more influence at Arsenal at all?
No.

Will Arsène have any more money to spend as a result of this?
No.

Will Usmanov sell his Arsenal shares and take over Everton with Moshiri?
I very much doubt it.

Would Usmanov be a better majority owner than Stan Kroenke?
I have no idea.

Where can I read more on this fascinating subject?
In all my other blog posts. Like this one. or just search for ‘angryofislington usmanov’ and you’ll find plenty.

Twitter: @AngryOfN5

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