Baugur to ramp up Williams involvement

Williams have admitted that Icelandic investment company Baugur is to ramp up its involvement with the team, but they have drawn short of confirming that the deal will result in any equity changing hands

Baugur to ramp up Williams involvement

Baugur has been surrounded by speculation that it is poised to become a shareholder in the Williams team in the wake of the collapse of its plans to support the Prodrive operation.

Sources claimed that discussions with Williams had got as far as discussing presence on the team's board, but there has been no confirmation from either side about the situation.

However, with Baugur-backed companies All Saints, mydiamonds.com and Hamley's now highly prominent sponsors, it is clear that the group is increasing its involvement.

And team boss Frank Williams has said that Baugur's sponsorship is likely to increase - although he would not confirm if there was an eventual plan for it to take a shareholding in the team too.

"No shares have changed hands" he told autosport.com about the situation. "What was being discussed was a major sponsorship deal that they have half executed and the other half comes on later this season."

When asked if the sponsorship deals would evolve into an investment deal, he said: "No comment at all."

Baugur initially began discussions with Williams last year but those talks stalled when it appeared it would become a title sponsor of the new Prodrive team.

Prodrive's plans to enter F1 this season collapsed, however, following a legal threat from Williams about the use of customer cars in F1. That situation resulted in Baugur, which is believed to be keen to use F1 to promote its many brands, renewing its discussions with Williams.

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