Kroenke closes in on Arsenal takeover

LONDON - U.S. sports tycoon Stan Kroenke has increased his stake in Premier League club Arsenal again, upping his holding to 28.7 percent, the club said on Wednesday.

Kroenke, who joined the club's board last year and became the largest shareholder in May, bought a further 80 shares for 8,500 pounds a share, taking him closer to the 29.9 percent threshold that would force him to make an offer for the remaining shares.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange, Arsenal Holdings PLC said it had received notification that he had acquired the extra shares, taking his stake to 17,867 ordinary shares, representing 28.7 per cent of the company's issued ordinary shares.

In July he paid 1.5 million pounds for 160 shares taking his stake to 28.58 percent.

Kroenke has leapfrogged Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who was the largest shareholder with about 25 percent.

Arsenal have been at the centre of takeover speculation after Kroenke and Usmanov started building stakes.