Earlier this afternoon, a bit of digging by Myles Palmer showed that 320 Arsenal shares had been sold for over £2.6m. Alarm bells rang in my head – to be spending that kind of money on shares, you need serious backing. Either the board were ploughing some of our new turnover into increasing their stake, or…
Red & White had bought the shares. And it’s this latter option that I’ve just had confirmed to me by well-placed sources.
It’s not yet 100%, but Red & White’s press representatives have so far refused to deny the story, only repeating their expressed wish to increase their stake. They’ve purchased at least another 0.5% of the club today, taking them over 15%. This means they will have to make a statement to the press either at the close of play today or tomorrow morning. This is in part why they cannot clarify the matter one way or the other.
I have spoken with the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, who have released a statement (available below) confirming their understanding that “Red and White have today increased their holding in Arsenal Holding plc”.
Who sold the shares? That’s a more difficult question to answer. No one individual had a shareholding of exactly 260 shares. Either a small collective have sold together or someone has sold part of a larger stake. As soon as I get more on this I will update this page, but it looks like the shares have probably come from one of the hedge funds.
The long drawn-out takeover battle continues.
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“The AST understands that Red and White have today increased their holding in Arsenal Holding plc.
Red and White have previously said they will maintain a dialogue with the Trust. We work with the club’s Board and all major shareholders and welcome this.
The AST will not shirk from reminding Red and White of the responsibility their new role brings and that they must cherish the history of the club and understand that Arsenal is its supporters. We will also tell them that we expect them to seek to work with, not against, the current Board, who in recent years have given us both the best stadium and the best football ever played in England.
The AST has made it clear to Red and White that we are against a hostile takeover. “