The self-proclaimed 'King of Good Times' is in distress.
Despite earlier media reports about his reluctance to sell 'family silver', Diageo Plc of the UK is set to pick up a 51% stake in Vijay Mallya-promoted United Spirits Ltd (USL) this week, in a $2 billion (Rs 10,820 crore) deal that is being seen as the liquor baron's bid to bail out the ailing Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya has already lost $300 million in personal wealth and, along with it, the billionaire tag.
The man is now worth $800 million, down from $1.1 billion as per the 2011 Forbes Billionaire list.
His rank fell to 73rd this October, from 49th place last year, even as his airline still struggles to battle a mountain of debt and striking workers.
"The King of good times (as Mallya is known) is having nothing but bad times lately. His (Mallya's) Kingfisher Airlines, weighed down by what is believed to be $2 billion in debt, had its license suspended in mid-October after it apparently failed to address the Indian regulator's concerns about its ability to operate," Forbes said.
And now his airline risks losing its licence for good if Mallya does not come up with a revival plan by December-end.
Mallya said there were many reasons for Kingfisher's predicament, but laid much of the blame on taxation and the Indian government.
Text: Business Standard
AFP, AP Images