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Kroenke cranks up Arsenal stake

LONDON, December 22 – American sports magnate Stan Kroenke has moved to within 17 shares of the threshold requiring him to mount a takeover of Arsenal after upping his stake in the English Premier League club.The London side said on Monday that Kroenke had acquired 25 more shares last week at a cost of 212,500 pounds (342,099 dollars).

The Denver-based Kroenke increased his stake in Arsenal to 29.9 percent last month.

If he ups his holding to 29.99 percent, Kroenke must, under English company law, make an offer for the remaining shares – in effect, launch a takeover bid.

Kroenke, who has been increasing his holding in Arsenal in recent months, declined an opportunity at the club’s October annual general meeting to clarify his intentions, fuelling speculation a takeover bid could be imminent.

Some of his shares in the club have been purchased from Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood.

That was seen as an indicator of the Arsenal hierarchy’s preference for Kroenke over Arsenal’s second-biggest shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, whose company Red and White Holdings holds a stake of just under 26 percent.

Arsenal, who beat Hull City 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium here on Saturday, are currently third in the Premier League table – six points behind leaders Chelsea but with a game in hand.

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