March 29, 2023

DealBook: Diageo in Talks to Buy Stake in United Spirits

The Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, owns a 28 percent stake in United Spirits, in 2007.Carl De Souza/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesThe Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, who owns a 28 percent stake in United Spirits, in 2007.

LONDON – Diageo, the world’s largest spirits company, said on Tuesday that it was in talks to buy a stake in United Spirits of India.

The discussions, which Diageo said might not result in a deal, follow similar talks that it held in 2008 with United Spirits, which has around a 40 percent market share in India.

Diageo, which is based in London, did not say how much of a stake in United Spirits it was looking to acquire. Shares in the British company rose 1.9 percent in morning trading in London.

The Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya owns a 28 percent stake in United Spirits.

Mr. Mallya, who also operates Kingfisher Airlines, has been looking to raise new capital for the Indian carrier for more than a year, and may use the potential sale of a stake in United Spirits to prop up the airline.

Diageo, whose brands include Guinness and Johnnie Walker, is one of many Western beverage companies to turn their attention to the emerging markets.

On Sept. 28, shareholders in Fraser Neave, the Singaporean conglomerate that owns a minority holding in Asia Pacific Breweries, are expected to back Heineken’s $4.6 billion acquisition of the shares in the Asian beer company that it does not already own.

Article source: