LAGOS: Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote yesterday denied reports that he has plans to buy a 16% stake in English Premier League club Arsenal.
Dangote, listed by the US magazine Forbes as one of the world’s richest men, was earlier cited by a local daily saying he was considering buying Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s stake in the club.
That stake is worth £96mil (US$138mil), making her Arsenal’s fourth largest shareholder.
But later, in a statement, Dangote said he had in the past examined the possibilities of acquiring a stake, but has since dropped the idea.
“I have been involved in conversations around investment in the past. However, I can say categorically at this time that I have no intention of investing in the club and will not be acquiring a stake,” he said.
A local daily, ThisDay, had earlier quoted Dangote, a long standing supporter of Arsenal, saying he had “for a while” been considering investing in the team.
“It started in 1980 when I forged a relationship with Mr David Dein, former vice chairman of the board of Arsenal.
His spokesman Joseph Okonmah had also earlier said Dangote had been interested in investing in Arsenal.
Dangote controls much of the west African country’s commodity manufacturing and trade including cement, sugar, flour, pasta, salt, cooking oil and textile products among others.
Forbes magazine has rated him one of the world’s richest Africans with a net worth of around US$3.3bil. — AFP