UB to acquire French wine company for $15 million

Mumbai: Mallya is on the prowl again. UB group, the world's third-largest liquor producer, plans to buy a wine company from France's Taittinger for $15 million, reports quoting chairman Vijay Mallya said on Saturday.

UB, currently India's top beer manufacturer and top spirit maker, has only a small presence in the wine segment. UB proposes to import wines from the French champagne house to boost its presence in the wine segment.

UB had, in May this year, bid for Taittinger, which was acquired by French bank Credit Agricole for nearly $850 million.

The Taittinger Group is controlled by the Starwood Capital Group LLC, which is into real estate and hotel business, and Societe du Louvre SA.

UB proposes to fund the acquisitions from own funds. The acquisition will help UB import high-quality wines.

The UB Group is increasingly relying on acquisitions to expand business as it eyes the lucrative Chinese market. While the company is expanding its wines business in India, it sees more opportunities in the Chinese liquor market. UB plans to foray into the Chinese market in a big way through distribution tie-ups.

UB has already a presence in countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong and the group wants to target the burgeoning Chinese market.