INDIA: Fresh reports break of Diageo, United Spirits talks
The reports, which surfaced yet again earlier today (25 April), cite an unnamed person familiar with the situation as suggesting the two are in negotiations “to structure a deal that would arm (United Spirits' owner Vijay) Mallya with enough cash to revoke pledges on shares of United Spirits”. Investment bank JM Financial has been recruited to work out the details of an agreement, the Economic Times claimed in its report.
However, in the same report, a spokesperson for JM Financial was quoted saying: “We are not involved with Diageo in any structured deal to help Vijay Mallya pay off debts in Kingfisher Airlines and therefore your query is factually incorrect and speculative.”
A spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks today: “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on market rumour and speculation.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for United Spirits confirmed to just-drinks that the company is "not in any discussion with JM Financial".
However, he added: “Diageo and ourselves are in constant touch with each other exploring joint business opportunities in this rapidly evolving market.”
When asked specifically about a possible stake sale, the spokesperson said: "There is no question of selling our stakes in our core businesses to invest further or to repay debt in any business including Kingfisher Airlines.
"We have other opportunities to access the necessary funding."
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