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29 Apr 2010
Sanjiv Mehta Acquires Historical East India Company

Sanjiv Mehta

The London store

The historical East India Company – perhaps the world’s first multinational set up over 500 years ago and once owned by the British Crown – has now been acquired by a Palanpuri Indian, Sanjiv Mehta. He has recently launched his first fine food store under this brand name in Mayfair, London, and plans to also expand to other locations in Europe and other continents. Sanjiv is the son of Asha and Mahendra G. Mehta.

The East India Company Fine Food Ltd store opened about a month ago at 8/9 Conduit Street near the junction with Regent Street. It offers a range of fine luxury foods such as tea, chocolate, coffee, wines, jams, mustard, biscuits etc. as well as a range of corporate and occasion based gift boxes, hampers and trunks. According to the company, “The products use only the highest quality ingredients and all have a ‘remarkable connection’ to history of The East India Company… (they) breathe life into the history of the company and enable our customers to feel a sense of belonging and connection through the centuries.”

The store décor and finish reflects the rich history and is inspired by The East India Company Chop Mark.

The East India Company was dissolved in 1874 and became the property of the Crown. Over a century later, a group of visionary entrepreneurs brought the brand back to life, with permissions granted by the Treasury to use the name and original trademarks of the company. Mumbai-born Mehta acquired the entire business in 2005 from about "30 or 40" people who then owned it. An alumnus of New Era School, Sydenham College and Columbia University, he is based in London for the last 20 years.

Despite being over 400 years old, the East India Company is one of the most recognised brands in the world: over two billion people know of its history. It once employed a third of the British workforce and was responsible for 50 per cent of global trade. Mehta aims to reinvigorate this once powerful brand for the modern consumer.

Describing his feelings, Mehta told a journalist, " On a rational plane, when I bought the company I saw gold at the end of the rainbow. But, at an emotional level as an Indian, when you think with your heart as I do, I had this huge feeling of redemption - this indescribable feeling of owning a company that once owned us."


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