Sahara are looking into selling their 42.5 per cent stake in the Force India F1 Team in a bid to help release founder Subrata Roy from jail, although it could be a difficult sell to pull off.
Roy has been embroiled in a dispute with investors that has seen him on trial in India’s Supreme Court, and a request has been made for Sahara to sell its shares in Force India amongst other assets to raise around 53 billion rupees ($778.38 million).
Sahara paid $100 million for their share in the Silverstone-based outfit in 2011, but former Jordan, Jaguar and Red Bull Racing marking director Mark Gallagher is amongst those who are sceptical that selling the shares will be easy.
“I don’t think anybody will pay 100 million pounds, euros or dollars for 42.5 percent of a mid-level F1 franchise,” said Gallagher to Reuters.
The main sticking point would be that any sale would not make the buyer the outright owner of the Formula 1 team, with Vijay Mallya still holding his own 42.5 per cent stake in the team, and the sale would probably be smoother if both stakes were on the table at the same time.
“Unless you are just doing it for sponsorship, I imagine you would want control,” said Finbarr O’Connell, administrator for the failed Caterham F1 Team to Reuters. “And generally sponsors don’t want to be shareholders.”
Force India are yet to release a statement regarding the possibility of Sahara selling their stake, while Sahara themselves have distanced themselves from the rumours, saying in a written statement that there were ‘no talks with anybody at the moment’.