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Indian Tycoon Buys Stake In U.S. Jet Manufacturer

Vijay Mallya paying $120 million to acquire 50 percent equity in Epic Aircraft.

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya has acquired a ''significant'' stake in Epic Aircraft, a U.S.-based manufacturer of private jets, a joint company statement said.
 
It's a personal investment for Mallya, who owns the UB Group of companies that includes India's largest liquor company and the popular Kingfisher Airlines, according to the statement by Epic Aircraft and the UB Group released Wednesday.
 
While the statement didn't give financial details of the deal or the size of Mallya's stake, the New Delhi-based Mint newspaper quoted an unnamed UB Group official saying Mallya paid US$120 million (euro84.9 million) to acquire 50 percent equity in Epic Aircraft.
 
Mallya announced the acquisition Wednesday at a joint news conference with Epic Aircraft CEO Rick Schrameck in Atlanta, United States.
 
Schrameck said Epic Aircraft would gain access to strong customers and vendors across the world through Mallya, a billionaire known for a flamboyant lifestyle.
 
''Epic was really looking for a strategic partner, not just an investor,'' Schrameck said in the statement.
The Oregon-based Epic mostly makes private single and twin engine jets which can carry six to seven people. A partnership with Mallya could help the company tap the Indian market.
 
India's rapid economic expansion in recent years has created many new millionaires, who are increasingly looking to own private jets.
 
''Even at the conservative estimates, India will buy 200 private and business airplanes in next three years,'' the Mint report quoted Nigel Harwood, chief executive of InterGlobe General Aviation, a distributor company for private jets, as saying.
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