Team Sky remained tight-lipped on Friday as reports of a possible takeover by petrochemicals giant INEOS gathered pace.
News that the domain name teamineos.com was registered on March 5, and also that a @teamineos Twitter account had been registered, has led to a further bout of speculation that the multi-national company, which is led by Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is close to announcing a sponsorship deal with the WorldTour team. Reports of a possible deal first surfaced earlier this month.
Team Sky have also been investigating a possible deal with a Colombian state-owned oil company. However, during the recent UAE Tour, the team’s sporting director Matteo Tosatto told Spanish newspaper Marca that the team had secured a new European sponsor.
If the deal does happen, Team Sky will certainly not be short of financial muscle. Indeed their budget – currently around £30m per year, making them the sport’s richest team – may even increase.
INEOS took over Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team last year, pumping in £110million and rebranding it INEOS Team UK. Ratcliffe’s only proviso on giving Ainslie the cash was that he had to drop all of his existing sponsors, including Jaguar Land Rover who had already committed to 2021.