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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

From Booze To News

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya is all set to cruise the infobahn

From Booze To News
From Booze To News
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
The badshah of booze, Vijay Mallya, is vroom-vrooming his way on to the information superhighway. Satellite television, cable networks, hardware, software, newspapers, Internet, e-mail—the UB Group chief is getting into them all. Or so he says.

Admittedly, anything Mallya does that doesn't have alcohol in it should be taken with a bowl of salted wafers. The liquor lord is long on spirit, short on performance outside his inherited turf. But recent reports of his media forays are too many and too frequent to be ignored.

In the first week of December, UB was chosen by the Karnataka Government to set up a cable TV network in association with United International Holdings (UIH) of the US. UIH India Inc, which has a 51:49 joint venture with UB, will pump in $75 million (approximately Rs 250 crore) to transmit voice, image and data initially in Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore, and later in the rest of the state.

  • On December 18, when Mallya turned 40, the group acquired 100 per cent control of the Madras-based satellite TV channel GEC (Golden Eagle Communications) run by Tamil Nadu liquor baron N.P.V. Ramaswamy Udayar. Mallya's immediate aim is to make GEC the number one Tamil channel, take it to Karnataka later, and make optimum use of the uplinking facilities the channel has at its disposal in Singapore.

  • On the same day, in Bombay, UB entered a strategic alliance with Russy Karanjia's Blitz by buying an 8 per cent stake in the group which can be increased to 27 per cent in the long run. More editions, including regional ones, possibly a Tamil one to start with, are planned along with a revamp and relaunch. The details will be revealed on December 27.

  • And there are rumours that Mallya is planning a tie-up with the US-based company WorldTel which has secured the telecast rights for the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Mallya and...
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