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Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, commonly referred to as the richest man in Africa, has once again been linked to an Arsenal takeover attempt, something he has apparently been trying to do for a decade, since at least 2011.
The latest rumors of Dangote trying to buy out current owner Stan Kroenke, an extremely unpopular figure with fans, have been sparked by reports that a major oil and gas refinery he owns on the outskirts of Lagos will do so. Finally It will be operational sometime in ‘early 2021’, a projection made last summer. You have long expected your bank balance to increase significantly for an acquisition.
That time has come, prompting speculation that Dangote may soon be preparing his long-awaited offer to buy Arsenal. But hype is definitely nothing new and the problem has cropped up over and over again without the talk turning up anything substantial.
Dangote was born into an extremely wealthy Nigerian family in the late 1950s. He studied business at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, and founded his own company in 1977.
He has invested in numerous industries and his ‘Dangote Group’ operates in much of West Africa. Food processing, with a dominant market share in the trade in particular sugar, cement, freight transport, banking, real estate, textiles, oil, gas and telecommunications have seen their wealth increase.
As of February 2021, Forbes estimates that Dangote is worth $ 11.5 billion.
Dangote is known to have been interested in buying Arsenal since at least 2011, now 10 long years ago, when Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith was in the process of selling her 15.9% stake.
This was a time when Kroenke was still trying to buy stock for his own takeover attempt, having racked up a 29.9% stake in the Gunners in 2009.
Dangote said in 2015 that he had wanted to buy those shares in 2011. But he withdrew, claiming it was because he had also been “very busy” in his other ventures. Kroenke ended up buying Bracewell-Smith shares as well as Danny Fiszman to bring his stake to 67%.
“There was a couple of us who were rushing to buy, and we thought that with the prices then, the people who were interested in selling were trying to go kill. We backed off, because we were so busy doing other things, especially our industrialization. ”Dangote saying, looking back on the 2011 race.
Those comments were made in 2015, and at the same time, Dangote expressed hope that his refinery would provide the necessary capital. The refinery is now supposed to be operational in early 2021 and has been in process since 2013.
“When we get this refinery up and running, I will have enough time and resources to pay for what they are asking for,” he said.
In 2016, Dangote spoke once more about his interest in Arsenal, but said he did not have the resources both for an acquisition and to pursue other projects valued at more than $ 20 billion. At the time, his wealth was also reported to have dropped by $ 4.4 billion in one year, primarily as a result of the depreciation of the Nigerian currency.
“It is not about buying Arsenal and continuing with things as usual. It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I have run a very successful business and I think I can lead a very successful team as well. Right now, with what we’re dealing with, more than $ 20 billion in projects, I can’t do both, ”he said.
A year later, Dangote again based his dreams of buying Arsenal on the progress of the refinery.
“I don’t want to go after Arsenal until I hand over the refinery. Once I deliver, I will go after Arsenal, “he explained in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We will be in a position to offer them the right offer. They will not retain Arsenal forever. Someone will make you an offer that will make you seriously think about leaving. And when we finish the refinery, I think we will be in a position to do it. “
Speaking in 2018, Dangote put a two-year time frame on his planned acquisition of Arsenal, insisting that 2020 would be the year he takes off.
“We will go after Arsenal from 2020, even if someone buys, we will continue after him,” he said.
By January 2020, Dangote had delayed his ambitions for another year, insisting on the David Rubenstein show that he was still too busy with other things to consider buying Arsenal and that he designated 2021 as a time when he could do so.
“It’s a team that, yes, I would like to buy one day, but what I keep saying is that we have projects worth $ 20 billion and that’s what I really want to focus on.
“I’m trying to finish building the company and then once we’re done, maybe sometime in 2021 we can. I’m not going to buy Arsenal right now, I’m going to buy Arsenal when I finish all these projects, because I’m trying to take the company to the next level. “
Now that 2021 is here, will it be different this time? If that huge refinery starts bringing in the money as he hopes, Dangote could finally have the additional financial clout he was hoping for. But it has been 10 years of talks and no action so far. So maybe not hold your breath, Arsenal fans …