Continuing his overseas takeover spree, liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday acquired 50 per cent stake in US private jet maker Epic for 120 million dollars (about Rs 480 crore).
The investment by the UB Group chief is in his personal capacity and marks his second such acquisition after a 50 per cent stake in Dutch Formula 1 team Spyker.
Both the acquisitions match up to the flamboyant image of the Bangalore-based industrialist, whose domestic airline Kingfisher is seeking permission to fly global. Mallya himself flies in a 20-odd seater personal jet, converted from a 140-seater 727 Boeing-with an in-flight bar.
US-based Epic Aircraft makes private business jets with single and twin engines, capable of carrying six-seven people.
The deal provides Epic the ability to accelerate the process of bringing the company's growing line of aircraft to the certifiedmarket, as well as strengthening the company's relationships with customers and vendors world wide.
"It's a great relationship... Vijay has already brought Airbus into the role of consultants for our certification programs," Rick Schrameck, President and CEO of Epic Aircraft, said in a statement.
Mallya, whose Kingfisher Airlines was among the first to order the new Airbus A-380, said: "I am very excited about the phenomenal opportunities that Epic has in the industry today and this strategic investment will pave the way for the company to embark on an unprecedented growth trajectory."
"Epic was really looking for a strategic partner, not just an investor," Schrameck said."Mallya now has a significant interest in our company, and we will immediately benefit from his relationships with a variety of companies, including Airbus and Pratt & Whitney."
Epic is in the advanced stages of flight testing for the Dynasty, the 1200hp single-engine turboprop.It recently unveiled two new Very Light Jets, the twin-engine Elite and the single-engine Victory.
In April this year Epic Aircraft had posted total sales figures of more than USD 23 million during the 7-day Sun n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida. It also booked more than USD 40 million of new aircraft sales during this year's AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin held in August.
Mallya's Kingfisher brand sponsors Formula 1 team Toyota Panasonic and his taking up of 50 per cent stake in Spyker is expected to help India in hosting a Grand Prix.