India's F1 team gets family business support

By Rashmi Kumar

One way family businesses can gain a strong international foothold is to expand globally. But Sahara India Pariwar, whose tagline reads “World’s Largest Family”, has taken a different approach – it is driving into international limelight by investing in one of the world’s most-followed sporting events.

The Sahara Group, headed by Subrata Roy Sahara, has bought a 42.5% stake in Force India, the country’s representative in car-racing event F1.

For the Sahara family, whose operations span finance, housing, real estate, film and television, this isn’t its first foray into the world of sports – it has sponsored India’s cricket team since early 2000.

But the timing couldn’t be any better – India hosts its first-ever F1 race on 31 October, which will likely give the family business, led by Subrata along with his wife and two sons, much international exposure.

As the company founder Subrata said in a statement: “F1 car racing has always remained a bastion of the western world. The advent of India in this exciting sport has remained a matter of pride for all our countrymen.”

The conglomerate will invest $100 million (€73 million) in the F1 team – to be renamed Sahara Force India – and will share equal ownership with Vijay Mallya, the alcohol-business tycoon who established the team, while the Dutch Mol family will maintain a 15% stake in the racing group.

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