Diageo has refused to be drawn on whether or not it is eyeing a stake in the Indian spirits giant United Spirits.

India's Economic Times today reported that the UK-based owner of Smirnoff and Guinness is looking at acquiring a 10-13% stake in Asian drinks producers for between US$500m and $600m.

"We don't comment on market speculation," a spokesperson from Diageo told just-drinks today.

Despite a denial by United Spirits that it was in discussions, the Economic Times went on to say that a transaction is expected around February or March 2008.

United Spirits would not cede any management control as a result of the deal, the report added, citing unnamed sources.

United Spirits, a part of the UB group, in May acquired Scottish spirits maker Whyte & Mackay for $1.2 billion.