Thursday, May 17, 2007

Exclusive! Interview with Vijay Mallya!

Yesterday, Vijay Mallya bought a company called Whyte and Mackay for a billion dollars US. Good for him. Its a scotch whiskey company and Vijay Mallya who is in the liquor business, does not own a scotch whiskey company. And of course, whiskey accounts for 85% of alcohol sales in India. So he borrowed the money from here and there and paid a billion cash, apparently. By the way, 155 million liters of whiskey comes with the company.

What I can't understand, for the life of me, is why the business journalist in the Economic Times thinks it is such a diabolically clever move. Why, indeed, are simple, no-brainer business decisions invested with deep strategical significance. Like he had a choice! Moreover, at even 6 dollars a liter, the price of the cheapest Indian whiskey, he breaks even on the 155 million liters Whyte and Mackay have in their cellars. But our journalists are going to be writing columns and columns about how shrewd Vijay Mallya is.

Well, if you cant beat them, join them. Here an interview I took of Vijay Mallya's....


Me: Hello, Mr. Mallya, sir, may I have the honour of asking you a few questions for my blog

Vijay Mallya: First of all its Doctor Mallya, do not forget that. Yes you may. Proceed

Me: Doctor? Wow, I didn't know that! I have this funny pain in my left side.....

VM: I'm not that kind of doctor, you fool. I just bought a Phd degree from some place.

Me: Phd? That's cool! Phd in what?

VM: Get on with it, boy, before I lose my patience and throw you out.

Me: Sorry. Tell me, first of all, doc, how did you locate and identify Whyte and Mackay?

VM: It was quite tricky. I personally looked through all the yellow pages in Scotland for "Distilleries and Whiskey manufacturers". After 6 months I realized that I was completely on the wrong track. It was under "Whiskey manufacturers and Distilleries". Had it not been for my alert advisers , I would never have known

Me: How did you approach Whyte and Mackay?

VM: Well, in deals of this size, delicacy and discretion are crucial. After months of preparation, we called their board number and asked to speak with the boss man. The operator was reluctant to put us through. It was then that I got my inspiration. I identified myself, I am famous even in Scotland you know, and offered the operator a spot on the kingfisher calendar.

Me: Are you going to put her on the calendar?

VM: Who?

Me: The operator, of course

VM: Oh, no. He's a guy.

Me: Coming back to the subject, how was the offer negotiated

VM: We do not disclose details of the negotiation process or the finer points of the agreement, of course.

Me: Just a synopsis, please? Pretty please? Only a bunch of half wits read my blog anyway

VM: Oh, alright. You seem like a nice guy. Well, I spoke to the boss man and asked him if he wanted to sell. He said how much will you pay? I said 950 million US, take it or leave it. He said he had just got an offer from a American company for one billion fifty cash plus dinner with Halle Berry. I knew he was lying. Americans have no use for whiskey. They drink a processed form of horse urine called bourbon. But I had to let him save face. Very important, face, in these high level business transactions. So I told him to kiss my ass.

Me: I'm breathless! Then?

VM: He said ok, billion and dinner with Halle Berry. I told him I would give him a billion, ok, but not dinner with Halle Berry. We settled for a Subway Sandwich with Shilpa Shetty. Doesnt it sound cool? Subway Sandwich with Shilpa Shetty.

Me: Thank you sir for elucidating these delicate points of power negotiation. So what is the strategic market and business plan in the near and medium term?

VM: I'm going to sell the 155 million liters in Delhi for 20 dollars a liter. That will get me 3 billion give or take. I will repay the billion dollar loan I took from a few channel island companies with names like "Vijay Investments ltd", "Mallya Investments ltd", "Vijay Mallya Investments ltd". and so on. With the remaining cash, I'll buy another yacht.

Me: Do you get tired of the ceaseless globe trotting and partying?

VM: This is a trick question, right?