Controversial ex-F1 team sponsor pulls out of race to buy Reading FC

William Storey, the outspoken and controversial founder of former Haas F1 team sponsor Rich Energy, has pulled out of the race to buy Reading Football Club.
Controversial ex-F1 team sponsor pulls out of race to buy Reading FC

Last month the Telegraph reported that Storey was poised to complete a £50m takeover of crisis club Reading, who are languishing at the bottom  of League One - the third tier in the English football league system. 

The report claimed that Storey still had to pass the English Football League’s ‘fit and proper persons test’ before he could complete on the bid to buy Reading, who were the subject of a winding-up petition from HM Revenues & Customs in June. 

But Storey has now confirmed he and his investors have “decided not to proceed”. 

“After signing a contract and exclusivity in Oct[ober] we entered a period of due diligence,” Storey posted on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). 

“Our accountants have reported. My investors and I have decided not to proceed. I wish the club and loyal fans the very best and hope they get an owner who will invest for long-term success.” 

The Reading Chronicle's James Earnshaw reported that Storey had "never signed anything, never had any exclusivity, never showed any proof of funds and never told the club who any of his investors would be". 

It marks a hat-trick of failed attempts from Storey to buy an English football club. 

Previous bids for Coventry City and Sunderland AFC also fell through. 

Storey is known in F1 circles as the founder of drinks company Rich Energy, who entered a short-lived sponsorship deal with Haas. 

Having sensationally vowed (and failed) to beat rival drinks manufacturer Red Bull on and off the track, Storey left his role with Rich Energy, before Haas terminated their deal with the company mid-way through the 2019 season. 

Storey found himself at the centre of another motorsport storm during a bizarre sponsorship of the British Superbike squad OMG Racing. 

OMG Racing released a statement in July 2022 claiming it was “never” sponsored by William Storey or his Rich Energy brand. 

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