Earlier this week my colleague Ariel Adams mentioned that the Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya spent $2 million on some of Mahatma Gandhi's personal possessions. Mallya may be doing some selling as well. His Bangalore-based United Spirits could put Scotch whiskey distiller Whyte & Mackay up for sale. Mallya's United Spirits bought the company for £595 million (around $838 million) in 2007 at the peak of the market. Word is that he was originally thinking of divesting a 49 percent stake in the company but has found that there are no takers.
The London Times reports that Mallya's empire, including the Kingfisher airline, is feeling a bit of financial strain. They quote an analyst who says that Mallya would be lucky to raise more than £200 million from the sale of Whyte & Mackay both because no one is buying anything right now and because the price of bulk Scotch is expected to fall by 15 to 20 percent in the next few years.
Mallya is known for his extravagant spending and has earned the nickname the "Bangalore Branson." He owns the Force India Formula 1 team and throws parties on his large yacht the Indian Empress. He came in at 962 on the Forbes billionaire list last year with a worth of $1.2 billion. It will be interesting to see how he ranks this year.