Update – Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Communications has denied reports saying that it is in the race to acquire English football club Newcastle United. “The news reports are completely false and baseless. There are no such plans,” Reliance Communications said in a statement.
Anil Ambani, though much richer, is never as flamboyant as Vijay Mallya. But Ambani might give Mallya a run for his money when it comes to buying a sports team. Ambani, one of the richest Indians, is said to be in the race to acquire UK football club Newcastle United.
ESPN.com reports that the deal may materialise as soon as next week, that could cost the power-to-telecom-to-financial services tycoon $520 million. This is almost five times what Mallya paid last year for the Netherlands-based Spyker Formula One team.
Besides Ambani, Singapore-based global investment company Profitable Group is also said to be in the race for the team. Mike Ashley is the current owner of Newcastle.
Last year, steel tycoon LN Mittal was also looking at buying a UK football team – Birmingham City. Mittal’s younger brother Pramod (of Ispat Industries) bought a Bulgarian football club CSKA Sofia for an undisclosed amount in 2006.
Ambani’s proposed entry into football is interesting especially when his main rival Bharti Group is investing a lot of money in developing football in India. Ambani may have some India strategy attached to his latest buyout plans.