By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has agreed to sell some of its stake in McLaren to the Formula One team's overall head Ron Dennis, who is set to become the majority shareholder.
"No transaction has taken place, but the shareholders have had discussions on how to best facilitate and enhance the future growth of the McLaren Group," a McLaren spokesman said on Friday.
"When and if a transaction takes place, it is not envisioned that the current shareholders will exit McLaren completely, and announcements would be made at the appropriate time."
No details were given about the number of shares involved, with Mumtalakat currently holding a 50 percent stake. Dennis and Saudi-born businessman Mansour Ojjeh, the chief executive of Luxembourg-based TAG, each hold 25 percent.
The share purchase agreements were signed last August between Mumtalakat, TAG and Dennis.
An informed source emphasised that while the Bahrainis were willing to sell some shares, they had no intention of leaving McLaren entirely.
Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone had told reporters on Thursday that Dennis, the McLaren group chief executive and former team principal, was in the process of regaining control.
"They (the Bahrainis) are nothing to do with the race team any more. They have sold the shares to Ron," said the 84-year-old Briton.
"He’s got to pay for them by a certain date. If he doesn’t pay, they will obviously take everything back again. But at the moment, Ron would own the company."
British-based McLaren, who also have a growing sportscar business, have carried out a major restructuring of their Formula One team to get it back to the top after two under-performing years.
The team, who have not won a race since 2012, announced on Thursday the return of Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso, who left them under a cloud in 2007, to partner 2009 world champion Jenson Button.
They are also starting a new partnership with Japanese manufacturer Honda, whose engines powered them to championships in the late 1980s and early 1990s with Brazilian Ayrton Senna and French driver Alain Prost.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)