By Samindra Kunti
November 20 – Arsenal major shareholder Alisher Usmanov has expressed an interest in acquiring Belgian champions Anderlecht but will be up against Belgian entrepreneurs Paul Gheysens and Wouter Vandenhaute in any bid to take control of the club. The current takeover price is at €80 million for 75% of the club’s shares.
The Uzbek-born billionaire owns 30% of Arsenal’s shares, but has been alienated from wielding much influence in North London by the current Stan Kroenke led-board.
A spokesman for Usmanov’s company USM Holdings didn’t rule out an investment in the Belgian club when addressing the reports on Saturday evening. “Mr. Usmanov has received various proposals, including a suggestion regarding the acquisition of RSC Anderlecht, but no decision has been made,” confirmed the spokesman. “Mr. Usmanov remains a loyal and dedicated fan and shareholder of Arsenal.”
Anderlecht has held talks with a number interested parties, including the Paul Gheysens – Wouter Vandenhaute duo, two Belgian entrepreneurs who approached the Brussels-based club well before Usmanov entered the fray.
Gheysens leads the controversial Ghemlanco construction consortium, which is struggling to push ahead with the construction of Brussels’ Euro 2020 stadium. Vandenhaute has long enjoyed a leading role in Belgium’s TV industry.
In 2008 Anderlecht altered its status from a non-profit to a limited company, a first indication that the Vanden Stock family wanted to sell the club. The current owners retained 25% of shares in case of a takeover to block or veto important decisions.
“R.S.C. Anderlecht is carefully considering all offers,” read a statement from the club. “They are judged by the added value [they provide] for the club and there is a clear benchmark: RSCA must become better in the long term. RSCA will only communicate if there is an official agreement. The club refrains from all further comment.”
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