Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal will make the investments in son-in-law Sharan Pasricha’s hotel business through Bharti Global, which makes investments for the Mittal family. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal will make the investments in son-in-law Sharan Pasricha’s hotel business through Bharti Global, which makes investments for the Mittal family. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Airtel’s Sunil Mittal to invest $1 billion in son-in-law’s hotel business

Sunil Mittal's Bharti Global would fund acquisitions by Sharan Pasricha's Ennismore, a developer that owns Gleneagles resort and Hoxton hotel chain

Mumbai: The family of billionaire Sunil Mittal, who controls India’s biggest mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel Ltd, is looking to invest more than $1 billion into a hotel chain founded by his son-in-law in London, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The money, which would come from a unit of Mittal’s Bharti Group that handles the founding family’s wealth, would fund acquisitions by Sharan Pasricha’s Ennismore, a developer that owns the Gleneagles resort and Hoxton hotel chain, which is expanding in the US and Europe, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.

“Bharti Global, an arm of Bharti Enterprises, is investing in the development of hospitality business in Europe and the US in partnership with Ennismore Ltd, a company owned and managed by Sharan Pasricha. Ennismore is the development manager, operator and owner of the Hoxton brand. It develops, manages and operates the hospitality investments of Bharti Global as well others in addition to owning and Managing its own F&B business," a spokesperson for Bharti Global said.

The injection would help Pasricha acquire and convert properties in trendy urban areas in US and European cities into hotels aimed at appealing to younger travellers. Hoxton, known for its casual atmosphere and affordable rates, operates two hotels in the London neighbourhoods of Shoreditch and Holborn and one each in Amsterdam and Paris. The brand has 667 rooms across these three cities.

Ennismore said in an email it’s partners with Bharti Global, which makes investments for the Mittal family, and declined to comment further. A Bharti Global representative declined to comment.

Street Art

Pasricha, who’s married to Mittal’s daughter Eiesha, ran a media startup, then a leather-goods factory and private equity before getting into the hotel business. Pasricha acquired the first Hoxton in Shoreditch, an east London neighborhood known for street art. The second in Holborn in 2014 was followed by Amsterdam in 2015 and Paris in 2017.

Hoxton is developing hotels in New York City’s hip neighborhood of Williamsburg, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, with plans to start opening some of them this year, according to its website. By 2020, the firm expects to add locations in Chicago, San Francisco and in London’s Southwark and Shepherd’s Bush.

Ennismore also acquired the 232-room Gleneagles resort in Scotland in 2015 and is planning a new chain called NoCo—a budget hotel format it is positioning as “less boring"—to open its first location in 2019.

Bloomberg’s Unni Krishnan in Mumbai contributed to this story.

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