William Storey: Our offer for Force India accepted in principle

Rich Energy, an energy drinks company, has made £100-million ($133-million) bid to takeover Force India from embattled business tycoon Vijay Mallya and his associates but the buy-out has been delayed as guarantees with creditors, including Mercedes, have to be negotiated, agreed and formalised.

Rich Energy chief executive William Storey (in photo above on the right with Mika Hakkinen) told The Telegraph that the deal is agreed in principle despite what he cited as “external moves to destabilise” the takeover while hinting that an announcement to this effect is expected this week.

Force India has been available for purchase for some time now as Mallya’s legal issues mount, the asking price around $150-million at last asking.

But Storey claims that a figure closer to $125-million has been accepted, which included a plan to pacifying existing creditors.

At the same time, there is talk that behind-the-scenes Mercedes along with Force India’s title sponsor BWT are exploring options to snap up the team should conditions be met.

But Storey is adamant his is the real deal for the future of the Silverstone based team.

The Telegraph report revealed that Storey felt duty bound to inform the 400-strong Force India workforce of his bid, which he insisted is serious and includes further investment beyond the purchase price.

Storey explained, “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.”

“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 1″

“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,” concluded Storey.

Force India originated from the Jordan Grand Prix team which entered Formula 1 in 1991. In 2005 the team was sold and became Midland F1 Racing, a year later it was sold again and renamed Spyker Cars.

In 2008 the team was bought by Vijay Mallya and Michael Mol and became Force India.