Chicken Tikka Masala is reputed to have taken over as the national dish of Britain. Perhaps the best example of reverse colonisation, although it must be said that overthrowing "British food" is not as great an achievement; such being the epicurean significance of the cuisine in Her Majesty's land. Actually its a Bangladeshi takeover, given that 99% of the curry houses in Britain are run by Bangladeshis. But we shall lightly pass over Bangladesh propagating "Balti"cusine" and such other monstrosities.
Stay with the chicken. British affinity to consuming this hapless avian is the only logic I can find (after much scratching of the head in vain) to explain the take over of Blackburn Rovers , a Premier League football team, by Venky's - an obscure chicken farming company from India.
Firstly the facts. Blackburn Rovers is a struggling middling football side in England. Its been bought out by Sri Venkateswara Hatcheries for £ 53 m , an Indian family firm, run by Anuradha Desai and her brothers. The takeover was completed yesterday and the team's home grounds are henceforth to be known as Venky's Ewood Park !
Foreigners taking over English clubs is not something new. It is mostly rich tycoons doing it for vanity - witness Roman Abramovic and Chelsea. They lose pots of money, but they don't care, for it barely makes a dent in their fortune. Owning a football club is like digging a hole and pouring money into it endlessly. Its the biggest dud when it comes to a business investment. Even Manchester United the most famous and richest of them all is financially in ruins. Nobody makes money except the players - its the only field where you can make outrageous salaries (think of a salary of £35000, ie Rs 25 lakhs per day) whether you perform or not.
Anuradha Desai does not fall in that boat. She is no playboy. She isn't a household name, even in India. She is known for prudently growing the company that her more illustrious father built. If she had a passion for football, it has thus far been well hidden. Beyond the usual blah blah that is made after any acquisition - we will grow together, we see a bright future, and such other rubbish, she displayed her ignorance of football by saying she is not going to pour money in to buy players. The economically challenged rabid English fan wants his favourite club to be owned by a zillionarie who'll write a blank cheque to buy every player on earth. He doesn't want to see prudent business principles.
There is zero brand value for this investment - can't imagine Venky's Chicken Tikka Masala in the menu. Sitting in the owner's box and watching Blackburn lose on a miserable cold and windy winter's day cannot be her idea of happiness. Back home in India, seeing handsome hulks sporting the Venky's logo on their football shirts is not going to make Rajalakshmi eat chicken.
Of all the bewildering acquisitions that happen in the business world, this must surely take the cake.