Indian investor Vijay Mallya is buying a controlling interest in the Sypker Formula One team, according to reports carried by an Indian television station, CNBC TV18. The station reports that the bid has been approved by the Spyker board of directors and is a purchase of the team by Mallya in his personal capacity. The purchase will make him the first Indian ever to own a team in Formula One.
Spyker is currently owned by the Dutch carmaker of the same name, and was create when the team was purchased from Midlands, last year. When Spyker purchased it, the price was $106.6 million. It is reported that Mallya is paying a “reasonable premium” for the team, reported by Reuters as $109.3 million. Mallya has a controlling interest in UB Group (formerly United Breweries), a conglomerate with interests in brewing, distilleries (it is the world’s third largest spirits company), engineering, agricultural chemicals, life sciences, engineering, and information technology, and Kingfisher Airlines, the later a sponsor of the Toyota Formula One team and named for UB’s leading brand of beer. The Toyota sponsorship is expected to continue. Mallya has also been a leader in efforts to bring a Formula One race to New Delhi and is leading an effort to build a suitable track facility there.
Mallya, who is 51, is listed by Forbes as 664th on the list of the World’s richest people, with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion.