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Dangote still wants to buy Arsenal

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Dangote

Dangote

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, said he still wants to buy English Premier League soccer team, Arsenal, even after its owners rebuffed him in 2010.

Nigeria’s Dangote, an Arsenal fan worth $15.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, discussed buying a stake in the club five years ago before talks with the owners fell through, he said. Since then his wealth has grown more than sevenfold.

“I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team,” Dangote, 58, said in an interview as he traveled on a plane owned by one of his companies between the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa and the Nigerian commercial hub of Lagos on May 1.

“I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy.”

Arsenal is one of England’s most successful clubs, having won 13 top flight league titles in the country, the most after Manchester United and Liverpool.

Arsenal Holdings Plc., the owner, trades on the ICAP Securities & Derivatives Exchange, or ISDX, and is valued at £988 million ($1.49 billion).

A successful bid would make Dangote the first African owner of a club in a league where billionaires including Russia’s Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea, and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, who controls Manchester City, have acquired teams.

Stan Kroenke, worth $5.6 billion and owner of the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams, holds 67 percent of Arsenal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 30 percent is owned by Red & White Sec Ltd., controlled by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, a former Uzbekistan youth fencing champion who is now Russia’s third-richest man, and Farhad Moshiri.

Dan Tolhurst, a spokesman for the London-based club, declined to comment as did Rollo Head, a spokesman for Usmanov in London. Tomago Collins, a spokesman for Kroenke in Denver, did not immediately respond to e-mails requesting comment.

Dangote has interests in sugar and flour and controls Dangote Cement Plc, Nigeria’s biggest publicly traded company. He is investing $11 billion in a 650,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery near Lagos and as much as $2.5 billion in gas pipelines running to the city from Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta region.


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