Diageo bids to take control of India's United Spirits

15th April 2014, Comments 0 comments

Diageo has launched an offer to take control of Indian whisky maker United Spirits Limited as the British drinks giant chases expansion in emerging markets, it said on Tuesday.

Diageo, which already owns 28.78 percent of USL, is offering to buy an extra stake of up to 26 percent, for £1.13 billion ($1.9 billion, 1.4 billion euros), it said in a statement.

The amount of shares involved could total 37,785,214.

The offer, pitched at 3,030 rupees per share, would lift its total holding in India's top spirits maker to 54.78 percent.

Diageo is the world's biggest producer of alcoholic drinks, making well-known brands including Baileys liqueur, Captain Morgan rum and Guinness stout.

The London-listed group, which also makes Johnnie Walker whiskey and Smirnoff vodka, tied up with United Spirits in 2012 to give it a dominant presence in the world's biggest whisky market.

However, the deal has been fraught by regulatory and other hurdles.

Diageo is the latest British company seeking to expand in India, the world's second-most populous country and home to a fast-growing middle class.

Earlier this year, mobile phone group Vodafone took full control of its Indian subsidiary, Vodafone India Limited, in deals worth £1.0 billion.


© 2014 AFP

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