The chances of Arsenal being sold increased on Tuesday as Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith hired investment bankers to find buyers for the 15.9 per cent of the club she owns.

Bracewell-Smith has engaged the investment banking arm of Blackstone, a US-based private equity group.

However, that in itself may be a sign she is unwilling to sell to the largest shareholder, Stan Kroenke, whose Kroenke Sports Enterprises holds a 29.9 per cent stake in the club.

Should his holding hit 30 per cent, he would be forced to launch a takeover bid for the whole club.

He has limited most of his purchases to 8,500 pounds (13,000 dollars) per share, which would value Bracewell-Smith’s holding at 84 million pounds, less than she believes it is worth.

Kroenke paid 10,500 pounds per share to buy stakes from Clive Carr and Lady Sarah Phipps-Bagge last May. Regulations mean he is unable to pay less than that for future significant share purchases for 12 months.

More In: Football | Sport