The Hero Group has not acquired Kings XI Punjab, one of the eight franchisees of the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament, the company as well as Preity Zinta, the co-owner of the team, clarified on Wednesday.
"Hi everyone! Just want to clarify that we have not sold the team to Hero Honda! Another example of how the media can get it all wrong," Preity posted on her Twitter page on Wednesday following TV channel reports that the team had been bought over.
"The reports are absolutely baseless. Neither has the group acquired Kings XI nor was it in talks for such an acquisition," a spokesperson for the Hero Group told IANS in the capital.
Kings XI Punjab is co-owned by actor Preity and industrialists Ness Wadia, Karan Paul, and Mohit and Gaurav Burman. Kings XI Punjab is led by Kumar Sangakkara, while Tom Moody is the coach.
"It is not true -- totally baseless. We have not sold Kings XI Punjab to anyone. These are just speculations. We have no information regarding this," added Anil Srivatsa, the chief executive of the franchisee, said reacting to reports.
"I don't know from where this news has emerged. We are also verifying from where these reports have come," Srivatsa told IANS in Chandigarh.
Hero Honda also re-affirmed its association with the IPL and Delhi Daredevils, another franchisee.
"Hero Honda's association with IPL as an associate sponsor and the main team sponsor of Delhi Daredevils team remain unchanged," it said in a statement.
The $3.5-billion Hero Group, which started operations as a small component company for the bicycle industry more than 50 years ago, is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world today and has a 21-year-old collaboration with Honda of Japan.
The group is a sponsor of several major sporting events, including a high-profile golf tournament and has set up the Hero Indian Sports Academy to recognise, build and award outstanding talent within the country.
The third edition of the IPL begins March 12 with holders Deccan Chargers taking on Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai.