Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has said he is still working towards buying Arsenal Football Club, despite the fact that his bid to acquire a stake in the club was rebuffed by the owners in 2010.
In an interview with Bloomberg, while on a journey from Addis Ababa to Lagos last Friday, Dangote expressed hope that his new strategy would enable him buy the north London club at a price the owners won’t want to resist.
He said, “I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team. I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy,” Dangote, a known fan of the north London club, said.
Dangote is rated to be worth $15.7bn, and has interests in cement, sugar and flour. He is currently investing $11bn in a 650,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery in Ondo State, and $2.5bn in gas pipelines running from the Niger-Delta area to Lagos.
He is positive that his new bid for the control of Arsenal will likely come in a few years after he is done with current investments and have taken his business to a certain level.
“We have $16 billion-worth of investments in the next few years. Right now I want to take my own business to a certain level. Once I finish on that trajectory, then maybe, (an offer will follow),” he said.
Arsenal, who are among the most successful clubs in England, having won the English League 13 times, kept their hope of finishing in second place this season behind league winners Chelsea alive by beating Hull 3-1 on Monday. The Gunners also hope to retain the FA Cup which they won last season after going eight years without a trophy.
Arsenal Holdings Plc., is valued at £988m ($1.49 bn).
American, Stan Kroenke, who is also owner of the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams, and rated at $5.6bn, holds 67 per cent of Arsenal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Red & White Sec Ltd., controlled by Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, owns 30 per cent.
If his new bid sails through, Dangote will be the first African owner of a club in the EPL where billionaires like 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.
Dangote is among the club’s fans who believe Arsene Wenger, who has managed it since 1996, has done well from a financial standpoint, but was quoted as saying Wenger “needs to change his style a bit. They need new direction.”