May 24, 2010

LAGOS (Reuters) -- Nigeria's richest man, billionaire Aliko Dangote, on Monday denied media reports that he was considering buying a 16 percent stake in English Premier League soccer club Arsenal.

Britain's Sunday Times newspaper and other media reported that Dangote had registered his interest in buying a stake being sold by Nina Bracewell-Smith, the club's fourth biggest investor.

"I am a longstanding supporter of Arsenal Football Club and have been involved in conversations around investment in the past," Dangote said in a statement.

"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. I wish Arsenal Football Club the best for the future and will continue to follow the team as a fan."

Bracewell-Smith has appointed U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group to find a buyer. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month that 8-12 parties were taking a detailed look at the club.

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