The Indian billionaire, grandson of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who never shied away from a fight

78-year-old Nusli Wadia, chairman of the over 200-year-old cookies-to-aviation empire Wadia Group, is an Indian-born British Parsi businessman who is part of the prominent business Wadia family. Nusli, son of businessman Neville Wadia and Dina Wadia, is the grandson of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who is his maternal grandfather.

You think of rich and the names of Ambanis, Tatas, Wadias would pop into your mind. While they are renowned as the richest families in India living in luxury, all have had their fair share of fights. Whether it’s politics, academia or business, each sector has witnessed its own fights and rivalries.

It is rightly said that it takes two to tango but one Indian billionaire, who happens to be the grandson of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is never scared of a fight. He has had not one, not two but several confrontations and that too with bigwigs like Dhirubhai Ambani, Ratan Tata among others.

Who is Nusli Wadia?

78-year-old Nusli Wadia, chairman of the cookies-to-aviation empire Wadia Group, is an Indian-born British Parsi businessman who is part of the prominent business Wadia family. Nusli, son of businessman Neville Wadia and Dina Wadia, is the grandson of Jinnah, who is his maternal grandfather.

Jinnah’s grandson Wadia, who was never afraid of a fight, once battled big corporate names like the Tata and Ambani among several others. Here’s a look at his story:

Wadia vs Dhirubhai Ambani

The Wadia vs Ambani corporate battle started when both were eyeing the polyester industry for growth. Wadia Group’s Bombay Dyeing had already made a name when it came to sheets, towels among others. The company was one of the textile kings during the pre-Ambani era.

With Ambani also looking to enter the space, the conflict took the shape of covert warfare, so much so that the battle was termed as ‘the ancient regime locking horns with the nouveau riche’ by the media. Ambani won the war as Wadia made some bad choices with his polyester intermediates.

Later in 2009, Wadia said he had no rivalry with Ambani, debunking the perception that the two business families were fierce adversaries. “I’ve no rivalry with him (Dhirubhai Ambani)… I’m just saying the rivalry is now at different levels… with different people… different issues,” he had said.

Wadia vs Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, is well respected by people from all walks of life. He had been friends with the Wadia Group chairman since childhood. Only a few know that Wadia considered former Tata Sons chairman JRD Tata his godfather and mentor. Moreover, JRD helped Wadia when he wanted to take control of Bombay Dyeing.

When JRD gave the reins of the company to Ratan Tata, it was Wadia who guided him during his initial years. However, their friendship turned sour when Wadia decided to sue Ratan Tata. During the peak time of the Mistry-Tata conflict, Wadia took Mistry’s side and as a result, he was removed as from the position of Tata Motors’ independent director.

Wadia had in 2016 filed a defamation case against Ratan Tata and Tata Group claiming that he was unfairly ousted from the Tata Motors as he never entered the dispute unless he felt wrong. He withdrew the suit four years later in 2020.

Wadia vs late biscuit baron Rajan Pillai

The 78-year-old billionaire once engaged in a battle with late biscuit baron Rajan Pillai, a one-time friend turned foe. The rivalry was over Britannia. Pillai had picked up an 11 per cent stake in Britannia in 1987 and a year later, in December 1988, he acquired a further 38 per cent stake in the biscuit company.

Wadia had then, with the help of French major Groupe Danone staged a coup only to buy out Pillai’s stake in Britannia. Years later in 2009, Wadia even regained Britannia’s control from Danone, which had a 25.48 per cent stake in the foods major while had another 25.48 per cent. After winning the battle, Wadia became the sole owner of Britannia.

Wadia’s fight with his father

The billionaire not just took on other businessmen, but once battled his own father Neville when he wished to sell Bombay Dyeing to the Goenkas and settle in Switzerland. The young Nusli managed to retain the company and also ensured that his father stays in India.

Source: Click Here