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Mallya now co-owner of F1’s Spyker

This is for the first time that any Indian has become the owner of any F1 team, reports Lalatendu Mishra.
Hindustan Times | By Lalatendu Mishra, Mumbai
UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2007 03:47 AM IST

Business tycoon Vijay Mallya and his partner, the Mol family of Amsterdam, have successfully completed a $124 million deal to acquire 100 per cent stake in Spyker-Ferrari Formula One team at the end of the 30 days due diligence procedure. This is for the first time that any Indian has become the owner of any Formula One team.

Dutch sportscar maker Spyker NV, the erstwhile owners of this team, on Friday signed an official documentation effecting the change in management, a spokesman on behalf of Vijay Mallya said. The liquor baron is currently in the US and was not available for comment.

Orange India Holdings, a consortium comprising Mallya's Watson Limited and Strongwind, owned by the Mol family, had bid for this team and were short listed last month. Mallya owns 50 per cent in Orange India Holdings and is its chairman and managing director. Mallya has acquired this stake in his personal capacity.

Though the team is one of the lowest performers on the F1 grid, Mallya has ambitious plans ahead. Formula One attracts worldwide viewership of 550 million and, now that one of the 12 teams is part owned by an Indian, the viewership in India is set to go up manifold.

"I have been dreaming of owning a F1 team. I have invested a significant amount of money in this personal acquisition and this demonstrates my faith in Formula One and it is a proud moment for all Indians," Mallya had said last month after being short-listed for this acquisition.

"I am all about building brands and the Spyker-Ferrari F1 team having the Indian flag on it would symbolise the aspirations of young Indians which will lead to substantial value creation," Mallya had said.

If the venture backfires, Mallya may exit at a later stage with a substantial premium as there would certainly be a buyer.

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