Formula One Chief Ecclestone keen to buy Arsenal

August 11th, 2007

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has once again expressed his interest in buying London based Premier League club Arsenal. The 76-year-old billionaire vaguely discussed the possibility of an Arsenal bid on July 21 at the European Grand Prix in Germany.

The British billionaire, who effectively controls F1 auto racing, says he would bid to buy the Gunners if the current owners — who are already resisting takeover plans from American real estate businessman Stan Kroenke â€” decided to sell.

The Arsenal directors are reluctant to let the club become the latest Premier League team to fall into foreign ownership and have resisted Kroenke’s (12.2% shareholder)  attempts to increase his shareholding. Dein’s support for Kroenke’s plans was one of the reasons he left the club.

Ecclestone told The Times of London that he had spoken to David Dein, the former Arsenal vice chairman who quit after falling out with fellow directors over the future ownership of the Premier League club.

Ecclestone was quoted as saying,

The directors at Arsenal don’t want to sell and have signed a lockout agreement for a year, so we will have to wait and see what happens then.

It would be interesting to see how much support Ecclestone gets from David Dein. Ecclestone daughter Tamara is reported as dating Dein’s son.

Dein, who was seen as supporting Kroenke’s involvement, has been credited with much of Arsenal’s success over the past decade and remains close to club manager Arsene Wenger. Dein still has a 14.5 percent stake in the club, whose board said in April they would not sell their shares for at least one year.

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