Mallya enters retail, ropes in Louis Vuitton

Mallya enters retail, ropes in Louis Vuitton


Bangalore: After starting a premium airline and buying one of the world’s oldest scotch-whisky makers, flamboyant Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya announced on 6 November a new venture in high-end retail.

Mallya’s UB Group, the world’s third-largest maker of alcoholic spirits, will hold a 55% stake in UB City - the Collection, a Bangalore shopping mall exclusively retailing luxury brands, the company said on 6 November.

Mallya, 51, the self-styled “king of good times," managed to rope in France’s Louis Vuitton as one of the anchor tenants of the mall, to be located on No. 1, Vittal Mallya Road, named after his late father and due to open in early 2008.

“It has been purely driven by the vision of Mallya, who calls it a value proposition," said Irfan Razack, chairman and managing director of the property group Prestige, which will hold the remaining 45% stake in the venture.

“It will be an iconic landmark of Bangalore -- like what the Petronas Towers is to Kuala Lumpur," said Razack, estimating the cost of the project at Rs300 crore ($76.26 million). “It will be an opportunity to tap high networth individuals."

Other brands who have signed on for space in the 1.5 million square feet complex are Gucci, Fendi, Mont Blanc, Van Cleef & Arpels, Zegna, Rolex and Omega.

The Venetian-style project will include a 250-room JW Marriot hotel, serviced apartments and office space, already leased to Citigroup, Toyota, ABN Amro, Jones Lang LaSalle, 3M, Ernst and Young and Yahoo!.

Mallya this year splurged 595 million pounds (869 million euros, $1.181 billion) to buy Whyte and Mackay, a 163-year-old scotch whisky maker, two years after starting an airline named after his flagship beer, Kingfisher.