The Man Who Sold His Rs. 12,478 Cr Empire for Just Rs. 74: BR Shetty's Story
Unveiling the story of BR Shetty: how one tweet sparked a downfall, leading to the crash of a multi-billion-dollar empire and a personal financial crisis.
B.R. Shetty's journey from success to hardship is a compelling narrative of ambition, resilience, and controversy. Born on August 1, 1942, in Udupi, Karnataka, India, Shetty embarked on his entrepreneurial journey with a modest beginning. He moved to the United Arab Emirates in the 1970s, initially working as a pharmacist before establishing the New Medical Centre (NMC) in Abu Dhabi, which later became a cornerstone of his future business ventures.
B.R. Shetty's business acumen and foresight were pivotal in elevating NMC to become the foremost private healthcare provider in the UAE. He ventured beyond healthcare into sectors like banking, hospitality, and retail, creating a diverse business portfolio with entities like NMC Health, UAE Exchange, and Finablr. This expansion significantly enhanced his wealth, culminating in a Forbes-estimated net worth of about $3.5 billion in 2019, positioning him as a top entrepreneur in the Middle East.
Shetty's extravagant lifestyle mirrored his success. His possessions included prestigious real estate in Dubai's Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah, a private jet, and high-end vehicles like Rolls Royce and Maybach, all emblematic of his prosperity.
In 2019, Shetty's financial empire encountered a major hurdle. A tweet from Muddy Waters Research, accusing NMC Health of financial misrepresentations, triggered a sharp decline in the company's stock value. This situation led to Shetty stepping down and the removal of NMC Health from the London Stock Exchange, resulting in a steep drop in his wealth. Ultimately, he had to part with his company valued at Rs 12,478 crore for a nominal Rs 74.
The challenges Shetty faced were not just financial. He encountered legal issues, including a lawsuit from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and probes by Indian authorities. His accounts were seized by the Central Bank of UAE, and his firms faced restrictions.
Despite these troubles, Shetty's dedication to philanthropy, especially in improving healthcare in India and the UAE and his participation in educational projects, underscore his commitment to social welfare.
By 2024, the downfall of his business empire had greatly eroded Shetty's net worth. His story is a stark reminder of the entrepreneurial journey's potential risks and rewards and underscores the need for resilience and ethical integrity in challenging times.