London mansion bought by Indian billionaire for £138m is UK's biggest property purchase of 2023 - who is he?

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Adar Poonawalla - an Indian billionaire - is the man who spent £138m to buy the Mayfair property. But who is he?

The agreed purchase of a 25,000sq ft mansion in Mayfair, London has made it the most expensive UK property buy of the year and the second most expensive home ever sold in London. And the buyer is an Indian billionaire known as the 'vaccine prince'.

Aberconway House, a 1920s mansion a stone's throw away from Hyde Park, will no longer be owned by the Kulczyk family as the daughter of the late businessman Jan Kulczyk - Poland's richest man - has agreed on a sale price. The property has been bought by Serem Life Sciences, a UK subsidiary of Serum Institute India which is run by Adar Poonawalla.

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The imposing residence is named after Henry Duncan McLaren, Baron Aberconway, a turn-of-the-century industrialist who built the Grosvenor Square mansion. But many may be wondering who exactly its incoming occupant is. NationalWorld takes a closer look at Poonawalla.

Who is Adar Poonawalla?

Adar Poonwalla is the CEO of Serum Institute India which makes the Covishield vaccine. He was born on January 14, 1981 and was educated in Pune, India before continuing his studies in the UK in Canterbury and at the University of Westminster.

The Indian businessman took over leadership of the Serum Institute from his father in 2011 and had previously been renting the Grade II-listed property in 2021 for around £69,000 a week.

The property deal comes after the Serem Institute's multimillion-pound investments in vaccine research and manufacturing facilities near Oxford. In 2021, the family pledged £50m to Oxford University for a new Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building. The Serum Institute also manufactured hundreds of millions of doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It has been said by a close source that Poonawalla will not move to the UK permanently, but instead use the house as a UK base for the family.

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The second most expensive UK property sale of 2023 was the £113mn purchase of Hanover Lodge. Essar Group billionaire Ravi Ruia’s family office bought the mansion in Regent’s Park. Overall, London’s most expensive house sale was 2-8a Rutland Gate, sold in January 2020 by the estate of the former Saudi Arabian crown prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz for a record-breaking £210m. The buyer was revealed to be Hui Ka Yan - the founder and chair of Chinese property developer Evergrande.

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