Diageo bids for larger stake in India's United Spirits Limited

Tuesday 15 April 2014 08.56
Diageo already owns a number of Scotch whisky brands
Diageo already owns a number of Scotch whisky brands

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.

Diageo, which already owns 28.78% of USL, is offering to buy an extra stake of up to 26%, for £1.13bn (€1.4bn), 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%.

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

The London-listed group, which also makes Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka, tied up with United Spirits in 2012 to give it a dominant presence in the world's biggest Scotch 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 £1bn.