QPR in talks to sell majority stake

LONDON - English club Queens Park Rangers, favourites for promotion to the Premier League, held discussions on Friday to sell a majority stake to an undisclosed potential buyer.

The west London club, majority owned by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, have a five-point lead at the top of the Championship and are aiming for a return to the top flight for the first time since 1996.

"In response to recent press speculation relating to the potential sale of a 67 percent shareholding in QPR Holdings Limited (the 'Company'), the Company confirms that it has entered into preliminary discussions, which may or may not result in an offer being made," the club said in a statement.

Ecclestone owns around 62 percent of the shares after buying out his friend Flavio Briatore, the former Renault F1 team boss in December, with Indian steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal the other major shareholder.

It was unclear in the club's statement on their website whose shares were being sold but the BBC quoted vice-chairman Amit Bhatia, Mittal's son-in-law, as saying his family was not selling its shares.

"My family and I would like to make clear that we are not part of these negotiations to sell our shares," he was quoted as saying.

"We remain passionate about QPR and are working to achieve our immediate goal of providing Premier League football to our loyal supporters next season."

The club said talks were at an early stage and that there was "no certainty" that an offer will be forthcoming."