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Takeover looms as Kroenke ups stake to 29.9%

ARSENAL&rsquo;S largest shareholder Stan Kroenke yesterday crept to the brink of a takeover bid when he increased his stake to 29.9 per cent.<br /><br />Billionaire Kroenke, who has been steadily building his shareholding since first investing in April 2007, will be obliged to make a formal offer for the Premier League club if he reaches 29.99 per cent.<br /><br />The American sports tycoon acquired 200 shares, 100 of which were from Gunners chairman Peter Hill-Wood, in a move that further demonstrates Kroenke&rsquo;s acceptance by his fellow board-members. That is in contrast to their initial scepticism of him and their treatment of rival shareholder Alisher Usmanov, who has 25.5 per cent but has not been offered a seat on the board.<br /><br />Kroenke&rsquo;s move comes after Arsenal continued their encouraging form with a 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar.&nbsp; And ahead of tomorrow&rsquo;s trip to Wolves, defender Thomas Vermaelen believes they have surprised rivals. <br /><br />The Belgian said: &ldquo;Maybe we were a little bit underestimated at the start of the season.&rdquo;