Heineken in strong bid to buy out Mallya's UB stake: report

Vijay Mallya Dutch beer maker Heineken International has approached lenders with a proposal to buy out all of embattled businessman Vijay Mallya's shares in United Breweries that are pledged with them, The Economic Times reports.

The move comes six months after Heineken petitioned courts against a proposal to freeze the erstwhile liquor baron's shares in the company.

Heineken and Mallya are joint owners of UB Ltd, the maker of Kingfisher beer. While the Dutch brewer owns 43.4 per cent, Mallya holds a little over 30 per cent, most of which is pledged with banks.

Two top officials from different banks confirmed Heineken's proposal to ET. ''We are aware that Heineken has expressed interest in purchasing the UB stake pledged with lenders,'' one of the bankers said. ''The matter is now under litigation and no decision has been taken yet.''

Heineken's decision is significant as it ratchets up pressure on banks to strike a deal and recover some of the money owed to them, the ET report added.

Meanwhile, the stock exchanges have sought clarification from United Breweries with reference to the news, NDTV reports.

Shares of UB jumped 6.23 per cent to hit Rs819.30 per cent in intra-day trade following the report.

Banks are under pressure to recover money from Mallya following the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines in 2012. Mallya owes about Rs9,000 crore to the lenders, including interest on dues.

Last month Vijay Mallya was briefly arrested by the UK's Scotland Yard on India's request for his extradition and got bail from a court in London (See: Mallya gets bail from UK court; extradition still a long way off).

Mallya, 61, accused of defaulting on loans worth crores, had left India in March last year. "