Arsenal chief executive plays down Usmanov takeover talk

LONDON, Sep 30 (Reuters) Arsenal chief executive Keith Edelman is confident that Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov is not about to make a bid for the club.

Red and White Holdings, the investment vehicle co-owned by Usmanov, increased its stake in Arsenal to 23 percent last week and Edeleman and Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood met Usmanov's partner Farhad Moshiri for talks on Friday.

''We had a meeting and we had a general discussion about their shareholding.'' Edelman told BBC Radio today.

''They said before they are not going to make a bid for the company and they reiterated that view at the meeting.

''We are quite relaxed as far as the board is concerned. We don't believe we are in any danger of being taken over, it's business as usual and we will be running this club for many years to come.'' Arsenal have insisted all along that nobody on the Board is interested in selling their shares to Usmanov, who would have to table a bid if his shareholding reached 30 percent.

Edelman said he believes the Russian is interested in Arsenal as a long-term investment, particularly after the London's club's stunning financial results issued last week.

''Moshiri says that (Usmanov) loves the club and is an Arsenal fan, but we will have to wait and see over time.

''But I'm not at all worried, the board is resolute and I don't believe we are going to be taken over by anybody.'' Reuters SSC DB2108

Story first published: Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 16:58 [IST]
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