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Force India rumours persist

NEWS STORY
12/10/2011

Despite a firm denial from team owner Vijay Mallya, rumours persist that a stake in Force India has been sold.

Following months of speculation over the financial health of the Silverstone-based outfit and some of Mallya's other companies, most notably Kingfisher Airlines, which is said to be $1.5bn in debt, over the Suzuka weekend it was claimed that the team was on the verge of being sold to the Sahara Group, an Indian conglomerate with interests that include financial services, city development, print and television media, film production, sports, information technology, health care, tourism, hospitality and consumer products.

In response to the speculation, on the opening day of the Suzuka weekend, Mallya issued a statement: "I was shocked to read a media report that I am selling the Force India Formula One team," it read. "This is completely untrue and without any basis whatsoever. I take great pride in having been able to put an Indian team on the Formula One World Championship grid and have worked very hard to greatly improve the performance of the team.

"Now that India is finally on the Formula One World Championship calendar, my commitment to Force India becomes even stronger," Mallya insisted. "As Team Principal, I will continue to run the team and I have no plans whatsoever to exit."

However, the rumours persist and today sections of the Indian media report that an agreement which will see Mallya sell a stake in the team will be officially confirmed later today.

While neither party is making any comment at present it will be interesting to see how this develops especially as some are claiming that the purchase of a stake in the team is the first move in a plan which will see Mallya completely bought out before very much longer.

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