Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov increases Arsenal ownership stake

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his ownership stake in Arsenal to just over 30 percent by buying out his business partner.

Usmanov said he is now the sole owner of Red & White Holdings after buying up the few remaining shares held by Farhad Moshiri. Red & White Holdings controls 30.4 percent of Arsenal shares, with Usmanov having the second biggest stake in the club behind American majority owner Stan Kroenke.

"In line with my previously stated objective, I can confirm that I have purchased the whole stake of Farhad Moshiri, thereby increasing my holding in Arsenal to over 30 percent and securing my position as the second largest shareholder," Usmanov said on Friday.

"I am committed to Arsenal and I will proudly retain my holding as a long-term investment for myself and my family to enjoy and benefit for generations to come. I want the absolute best for Arsenal and am prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure the success of the club."

Usmanov has a fortune estimated at nearly $15 billion by Forbes, and first bought a 14-percent stake in the London club in 2007.

He has previously fought Kroenke for the majority ownership, and has been an outspoken critic of the club's financial policies -- including the decision to sell striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United.