Maharajas ruled long before Viceroys did. That's the simple reply Indian companies must give to foreign companies that resist an Indian takeover on the grounds that Indian ownership will lower the brand image. Orient-Express Hotels, a global luxury hotel chain, has rejected Tata's offer of talks towards a friendly takeover, saying that any association of its brands and hotels with a predominantly domestic Indian hotel chain will hurt its brand image and ability to charge premium rates. This is close to racism, barely camouflaged in the language of branding. And it is only one of many examples. The US association of car dealers said recently that the brand image of Jaguar and Land Rover, two premium brands being sold by Ford, would be affected if the brands were sold to either of the Indian bidders (Tata and Mahindra) rather than One Equity Partners, a private-equity company. Last year, another Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya bid for the French champagne company, Tattinger, was turned down on the ground that the French cachet of the brand would be hurt by non-French ownership. But the days of white supremacy are disappearing rapidly, and white brand value with it. When Arab financiers are needed to rescue Citigroup, notions of white cachet seem ludicrous. After the subprime mortgage fiasco, Citibank has turned to Vikram Pandit as its new CEO, to refurbish its image. So, an Indian name is actually rescuing a tarnished Citigroup brand. The turning point historically was surely the takeover of Arcelor by Lakshmi Mittal last year. Guy Dolle, the Arcelor CEO at the time, sought to disparage Mittal's takeover bid by saying that Arcelor produced perfume whereas Mittal Steel merely produced eau de cologne. But this supposedly suave put-down fell flat. Shareholders could see that Mittal's track record in building shareholder value was extremely good, and voted him in, however the company's share price skyrocketed after the takeover.