Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote has denied planning a move to buy a 15.9% stake in Premier League side Arsenal.
Reports claimed he was interested in Lady Nina Bracewell-Smithâ€™s shares, which are available for about Â£100m.
In a statement, Dangote confirmed he had â€œbeen involved in conversations around investment in the pastâ€.
But he added: â€œI can say categorically at this time that I have no intention of investing in the club and will not be acquiring a stake.â€
Dangote, group president and chief executive officer of the Dangote Group, is reputed to be Africaâ€™s richest man, with Forbes magazine in the United States estimating his fortune two years ago at $3.3bn (Â£2.3bn).
His wealth was built on a business empire that he founded in 1977 and now includes the number one sugar production company in Nigeria, a cement factory and textile products, plus he was made a Commander of the Order of the Niger five years ago. He recently told Nigerian newspaper ThisDay that he had been an Arsenal supporter for a â€œlong timeâ€ and stated: â€œIt started in 1980 when I forged a relationship with Mr David Dein, former vice-chairman of the board of Arsenal.â€
Last month, Lady Bracewell-Smith instructed UK brokers Blackstone to find a buyer, having previously given up her place on the clubâ€™s board in 2008.
Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov are Arsenalâ€™s two largest shareholders and it was thought that her decision to sell might lead to a bidding war between them.
US billionaire Kroenke owns 29.98% of the clubâ€™s shares, while Russian tycoon Usmanov holds 26.29%, but if any shareholderâ€™s stake reaches 30%, he or she is obliged to make a takeover offer for the club.
Neither Kroenke â€” who also owns the NBAâ€™s Denver Nuggets basketball franchise, Major League Soccerâ€™s Colorado Rapids football club and a stake in the NFLâ€™s St Louis Rams American football team – nor Usmanov has so far been willing to take that step.