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The United Kingdom based Diageo Private limited company distributor of beer, spirits and wine and the third European company investing in Ethiopia’s beer industry through acquiring Meta is reportedly in talks to acquire a stake in Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits Limited, reviving a long winding patchy negotiation that would increase its presence in one of the world’s largest hard liquor markets.
Mallya has been scrambling since mid 2011 to raise funds for his ailing airline company called Kingfisher air Ltd, prompting rumors that he may need to offload stakes in United Spirits, India’s dominant spirits maker, or United Breweries Ltd , producer of his flagship Kingfisher beer a prominent beer in the Indian market. Vijay Mallya is an industrialist and a second-time member of India’s parliament born in Calcutta, west Bengal state of India He is the chairman of the United Breweries Group one of India’s largest conglomerates, with diverse interests in brewing, aviation, pharmaceuticals, engineering, biotechnology and information technology.
Mallya was elected to the Rajya Sabha, Upper House of India’s Federal parliament and is serving presently as an independent candidate for the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka, is looking initially to buy a 15 percent stake from Mallya’s UB Group, which owns about 28 percent of United Spirits, and a further 10 percent from other shareholders, reports indicate.
If the deal goes through it would be seen as positive news for Diageo as India is the world’s largest whisky market and Diageo is the world’s premier Scotch whisky maker.