Suntory, Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi eye United Spirits stake
11 Sep 2008
Mumbai: Japan's Suntory has joined the race with three global spirit majors, including the world's largest alcoholic beverage firm Diageo, for a strategic stake in the Rs3,200-crore United Spirits, the spirits division of Vijay Mallya's UB Group.
Suntory is reported to have offered to pay $600 million, for the 13.7 million overlapping treasury stock, valuing the company at around $6 billion.
The treasury stock, which accounts for around 14 per cent of the company`s share capital, became overlapping followed the the merger of UB group companies.
The sale of the treasury stock would, however, leave the promoter stake untouched at 37 per cent, chairman Vijay Mallya said on the sidelines of the group's annual general meeting in Bangalore.
Mallya said United Spirits is already in preliminary talks with multinational drinks giants Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi for the stake sale and that there is serious interest from at least three global players who are in discussions with United Spirits.
''The interest is of strategic nature. We have a strong distribution network in India and global players wanting to enter India are keen on this. In turn, we will look to leverage our partners' global network for an international footprint'' he said.
A deal with USL will give the global spirit companies access to a strong distribution network, catering to about 55 per cent of domestic spirits consumption.
United Spirits last year completed a $1.3-billion acquisition of Scottish whisky firm Whyte & Mackay while UK-based Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) picked up 37.5 per cent stake in United Breweries, the group's beer division. This stake has since gone to Heineken after they acquired S&N globally.