Sahara plans to sell stake in Force India

2016 F1 season

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Sahara Group has requested permission from India’s Supreme Court to sell its 42.5% stake in the Force India team.

Sahara bought into Force India in 2011
The group’s chairman and founder Subrata Roy was jailed two years ago after the company failed to refund £2.45bn to investors. Appearing before the court today he requested its permission to sell the F1 team along with four aircraft and hotels in an effort to raise £306m towards clearing the company’s debts, according to reports in India.

Sahara purchased its stake in October 2011 and the team is formally entered into the world championship as Sahara Force India F1 Team.

Team principal Vijay Mallya also owns a 42.5% stake and told media last October he was “very happy” to continue having Sahara Group as partners. “There is no issue at all,” Mallya added. “I feel very sorry for Subrata Roy but this unfortunate situation is not affecting the team in anyway.”

Dutch businessman Michiel Mol holds the remaining 15%.

Force India is one of two Formula One teams which has asked the European Union to investigate Formula One’s distribution of revenue. Last year it obtained a payment advance from Bernie Ecclestone to ensure its suppliers were paid on time.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Sahara plans to sell stake in Force India”

  1. Given that Subatra’s been in prison for two years, I’m more surprised it took this long for the sales process to start than I am about its happening. Nearly £2.5 billion won’t spend itself. I hope the buyer ends up being helpful to Force India.

    1. @alianora-la-canta I always looked on the legal action against Subatra & Mallya as the government trying to get the money owed out of them rather than anything intrinsically criminal – they’re holding Roy in a cell (which is likely nice and furnished, with TV, bed and en-suite) to stop him fleeing the country.

      1. It’s Subrata, not Subatra.
        Just to put it out there, since it was spelled as the latter twice.

      2. Subatra and Mallya are under the eye of Indian courts for quite different reasons (though both involve not paying money that was owed). Mallya’s story is a relatively straightforward “didn’t anticipate downturn in business well enough, didn’t pay creditors” story, which, at least at one point (not so sure now), could have been solved simply by paying the monies owed. Mallya’s business was perfectly legal, it was the way it was run that was the problem, therefore it is a civil issue.

        Subrata, however, got charged with defrauding a lot of creditors by improper issuing of securities (itself deemed criminal law), then not obeying repeated court demands to repay it, then skipping a court hearing about the whole mess – which India regards as a criminal offence. So even if Subatra somehow repays the £2.5 billion, he’ll be in prison for some time. That’s a big “if” given that I’m not sure Subrata even has £2.5 billion to repay any more.

        1. He cant even pay his own £100m bond, i doubt he will ever pay off what he owes.

  2. Huuum, now there is a nice team to buy in to. Que car companies allover the world. They are good, they are fast and they are probably very cost efficient.

    Maybe Mercedes could buy a share and run as junior team?

    1. I have heard in the past that Carlos Slim wanted an f1 team, I wonder if he would actually go for it, considering the Mexican Grand Prix and all.

      1. I highly doubt someone like Carlos Slim would throw even a penny at an F1 team after he looks at their financials. I’ve been seeing his companies’ logos on F1 cars for about 4-5 years now, and I wonder whether he’d purchase a team after having been familiarized with the industry and terms. I just think he’s too stingy and shrewd to own an F1 team. I don’t think Slim got to where he is today by being bad with financial statements and money management. He’s quite a tightwad from what I understand.

    2. Apex Assassin
      2nd February 2016, 18:02

      it’s def the team to buy. no one does as well with so little.

      no car companies queuing up for F1 with these dopey regulations though. but that’s a whole different kettle of wasted years, money, and spectacular racing.

      1. no car companies queuing up for F1 with these dopey regulations though

        Except Honda who came back and Renault who upgraded from engine supplier to full works team. Compare that to the three factory outfits who left under the V8 rules.

        1. touché Keith!

        2. Not exactly a queue though is it?

          1. Still better than a queue to get out.

    3. Well there were the rumours of Aston Martin coming into the scene a little while back!

  3. Could be one for Carlos Slim to look at if he wants a truly Mexican team and I’m sure the Aston Martin rumours will also surface again. I remember in November there were even talks of a name change until Aston Martin stepped back for this season.

  4. I hope TATA comes in this deal, they own Jaguar and Land Rover, so we’d get to see their logos as well.

    1. THat’s wouldn’t be bad, just as long as they don’t bring Naren Karthikeyan back !

      1. Lol, we won’t see an Indian driver in FI unless he is good, currently its Jehan Daruvala in Formula Renault 2.0 is a promising prospect. Besides what better way to steal British fans from Maclaren to FI with British car brands that’s actually doing well in the market :P

        1. *McLaren

    2. Fwiw, I now desperately want to see a Land Rover F1 team.

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