Lord Sugar splits with business partner who won Apprentice in 2015
Lord Alan Sugar has parted ways with former Apprentice champion Joseph Valente less than two years after he won the reality show.
Plumbing business owner Valente, who was expelled from school at 15, won Lord Alan Sugar's £250,000 backing and a 50/50 business partnership on the BBC Show in December 2015.
But Lord Sugar is now divesting himself of his interest in ImpraGas, the business he owned jointly with The Apprentice winner, with Valente acquiring his shareholding.
The business tycoon said: "Since winning The Apprentice in 2015 with the prize investment of £250,000, Joseph, along with guidance and support from myself and my advisers, has transformed ImpraGas into a fast growing gas boiler installation company.
"Joseph Valente and I have agreed that he will acquire my shareholding and with it full control of the company will transfer to him.
"I will still be on hand to offer any help and advice required. I wish Joseph and ImpraGas all the very best for the future and will follow their progress with much affection."
Valente added: "I am so grateful for everything Lord Sugar has done for me and I could not have asked for a better partner in the early stages of my business career.
"I owe him a great deal. I am confident that with the winning business model we created together, I can continue to grow the business successfully."
Valente became the 11th winner of The Apprentice after Lord Sugar chose him as a business partner instead of finalist Vana Koutsomitis, who hoped to launch a dating app.
After crowning his winner, Lord Sugar said: "Joseph is a great example of what's possible.
"He turned his life around and decided he was going to go to work and here he is today, a well-deserved winner of The Apprentice and I look forward to him being my business partner.
"I hope it inspires a lot of people to see what is possible in this world."