Africa’s Richest Man Eyes Stake In EPL Club Arsenal In Four Years

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man , plans to buy shares in Arsenal, a top English football club, in the next four years, becoming the first businessman from the continent to have ownership in the football giants.

The decision comes six years after Dangote turned down an opportunity to buy 15.9 percent shares from Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, a former director in 2010.

The Nigerian business mogul revealed the decision last year. He is however, focused on recovering the $4.4 billion loss his business enterprises suffered this year, before buying stake in the club.

“Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out of the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this,” Dangote told Bloomberg.

Dangote added that his decision to buy stake in the club will improve its fortune given his success in his gas and oil businesses across the continent.

Stan Kroenke, an American businessman is the biggest shareholder with 67.05 percent. He acquired 23 ordinary shares for $477, 750 in May, The Guardian reported. Kroenke has been the club’s biggest shareholder since 2011.

Kroenke also owns Los Angeles Rams, a National Football League (NFL) franchise, Denver Nuggets, a National Basketball Association club and Colorado Rapids in the Major League Soccer, all in the US.

Arsenal is currently valued at $ 2.017 billion, According to Forbes.

In May, Arsenal became the first club to make more than $129 million from the Premier League, in price money for finishing second behind Leicester Football domestic television rights and other commercial deals.

Dangote’s decision comes months after SportPesa, a Kenyan sports betting firm and the biggest sports betting firm in East Africa, became the official sponsors of Hull City, another English Premier League club.

The multi-million deal is considered the most lucrative in the club’s history and will run for three years. It is worth about $ 120 billion, Goal.com reported. The Kenyan-based betting firm also became the official betting partner for another premier league club, Southampton in a three-year multi-million deal.

Arsenal has not won the domestic title since it last achieved the feat in the 2003-2004 season when it went unbeaten the whole season.

Dangote’s decision to buy shares in the club is likely to change the poor form. He once said that Arsene Wenger, the manager needs to change his tact.

“Wenger needs to change his style a bit. They need a new direction,” Sky Sports quoted him saying last year.