Reports today (23 October) have suggested that Scottish & Newcastle's operations in India could prove a barrier to Carlsberg and Heineken succeeding in breaking up the UK-based brewer.

The Daily Mail has said that entrepreneur Vijay Mallya, who owns a 37.5% stake in United Breweries, may not give a potential takeover his consent.

S&N also holds a 37.5% share in UB, with the balance being held by investors.

The newspaper cited a spokesperson for S&N as saying: "The idea that anyone can take over our stake in (Mallya's company) Kingfisher without Vijay Mallya's consent is absurd."

No-one was immediately available at UB for comment, although sources close to the situation were cited in the Daily Mail report as saying that Mallya has a "very strong" relationship with S&N's management.

Earlier this year, SABMiller was rumoured to be looking at a potential tie-up with S&N. Local reports at the time suggested that UB would look to veto the deal. UB leads the Indian beer market with 45% market share, with SABMiller chasing the brewer down with 38%.

Mallya would have been open to proposed deals with Anheuser-Busch, InBev or Heineken at the time, reports claimed, but would baulk at SABMiller making a move.