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Russian billionaire buys more Arsenal shares


Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his stake in Arsenal to 23%, a week after saying he wanted at least a 25% holding in the football club.

The purchase is estimated to have cost about ё6m, at roughly ё10,000 a share.

The deal means his investment company, Red and White Holdings, has upped its holding by around 2%.

Earlier this week, Arsenal`s annual financial results to 31 May 2007 showed that income had soared 46% to ё200.8m, up from ё137.2m a year before.

The Arsenal board said that the strong results showed that there was no need for a wealthy individual backer, and insisted that it was not about to sell up.

Stake building

Mr Usmanov is a metals magnate with an estimated $5.5bn fortune.

He first bought into Arsenal in August when he paid former vice-chairman David Dein about ё75m for 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.

Should Mr Usmanov reach a 30% stake in the club then he would be obliged to make a takeover offer.

The club`s financial results showed that its operating profits before player trading and exceptional items was ё51.2m, up from ё13.7m the previous year. Match income is now ё3.1m a game, with total match income over the past year of ё90.6m.

However, TV revenues were down on 2005/06, when the club reached the Champions League final, by ё10m.

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