Arsenal share sale attracts Nigerian interest

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The Independent Football

A billionaire Nigerian tycoon is reportedly planning to enter the race to snap up a 16 per cent stake in Arsenal.

Aliko Dangote – one of Africa's richest men – is said to have registered his interest in the shareholding being sold by the club's fourth-largest investor Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

The move could spark an ownership battle for the Gunners, with other contenders including its two biggest current investors – who would be forced to launch a full takeover bid for the club if they secured the stake.

Dangote is reportedly a passionate football fan and has the wealth to go head-to-head with the two big Arsenal investors, American sports entrepreneur Stan Kroenke and Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

The Nigerian industrialist has stood for the role of president of the Nigerian Football Association and is believed to have donated cash to the Nigerian national football team.

Dangote founded manufacturing empire Dangote Group and was formerly head of the Nigerian stock exchange.

Lady Bracewell-Smith is said to be seeking £160m for her stake after putting it on the sale block earlier this year. Sources close to Kroenke say he is the favourite to buy the holding. The American, who currently owns 29.9 per cent, the largest single shareholding in the Premier League club, ultimately wants control.