So Dein’s resurfaced as we suspected he would. He’s back as the chairman of Red and White Holdings, a company looking to take Arsenal over.
He’s also £75m richer thanks to selling them his 14.58% stake in Arsenal.
The money behind the new company comes from Russian (or strictly speaking, Uzbeki) billionaire oligarch Alisher Usmanov and the Iranian Farhad Moshiri. By all accounts the former is buddies with the Russian president Voldemort Putin – handy, eh.
The reality is, if Dein and his new friends persuade Kroenke to sell his 12.19% stake, Red and White Holdings will be just 3% short of the 29.9% stakeholding that means they would be obliged to launch a full takeover. That 3% could come from hedge funds, or indeed from the small shareholders that make up the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, should they be so wooed.
So let’s not muck about here: Arsenal are on the verge of being drawn into a protracted and probably very messy hostile takeover.
Dein’s gone on a PR offensive, and the whole crux of his argument for ‘introducing’ Arsenal to two billionaire investors is that he feels Arsenal cannot compete at the highest level. This conveniently skirts round the fact that Wenger has money to spend, but chooses not to do so. And that, with the development of the old ground allied to the revenues from the new one, Arsenal will hardly be scraping around for cash.
Nor indeed is Dein, as it happens, having made a profit of £74,708,000 on his original investment.
I hated the idea of Kroenke taking over, and I hate the idea of this lot taking over even more. What is their motive? Money, clearly. They want to make money from Arsenal. The Times today also points out, “With Mr Putin due to stand down as President in March, Mr Usmanov’s involvement with Arsenal may be an insurance policy against any unexpected downturn in relations with his successor as president”.
Arsenal: an insurance policy for a rich Russian. Chew on that.