If reports are to be believed, a £100 million takeover of one of Britain's Formula One teams would be completed in the next few days. In a report published by The Telegraph, chief executive of energy drinks firm Rich Energy, William Storey has lashed out at “external moves to destabilise” the proposed takeover, stating that he has already had an offer accepted “in principle” for the Silverstone-based Force India team. He claimed that a Sales and Purchase Agreement is now being finalised.
Rich Energy's offer is reportedly just shy of £100 million, down from the £150 million that was originally tabled after due diligence threw up snags, including various creditors who have yet to be paid. Engine suppliers Mercedes is one of those creditors and is believed to be owed roughly £13 million. Anxiety is growing as former principal Vijay Mallya is facing extradition to India. The report said that however, there are “elements who would prefer to see Force India go under than sold to Storey's company”. Rumours also say that Mercedes, together with its sponsors BWT, might be eyeing up a takeover.
Storey said it was time to speak out, to let the Force India's 400-strong staff know there was a serious bid on the table, adding he was prepared to put in an “additional eight-figure” sum on completion of the deal. Storey said, “In light of ill-informed media speculation and certain external moves to destabilise the team, I can confirm that Rich Energy made an official offer to buy Force India Formula One team at the end of April. This offer was accepted in principle, and we are close to finalising purchase with SPA. We have deposited funds considerably in excess of the purchase price and will invest an additional eight-figure amount in the team.”
Storey added, “We have a long-term business plan that not only involves our beverage brand but two multi-national corporate sponsors who are not currently in Formula One. We have found the shareholders to be excellent people with the team's and employees' best interests at heart. We aim to conclude a deal as soon as practicable and the lawyers approve.”