Local reports have suggested that India's United Breweries may put a spanner in the works of any potential tie-up between Scottish & Newcastle and SABMiller.

Speculation in the last month has suggested that SABMiller may be one of the potential runners and riders in the running to buy S&N. But reports from The Economic Times in India yesterday (9 April) claim that United Breweries (UB), which is 37.5%-held by S&N, may look to veto any deal with SABMiller. UB leads the Indian beer market with 45% market share, with SABMiller chasing the brewer down with 38%.

Citing a senior UB official, the report said that the company has the first right of refusal under a set of conditions involving S&N's future in global consolidation. The brewer is closely monitoring the developments, the official said.

The head of UB, Vijay Mallya, would be open to proposed deals with Anheuser-Busch, InBev or Heineken, the report noted, but would baulk at SABMiller making a move.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for S&N said: "We will not comment on market speculation." The spokesperson would also not be drawn on the details of the joint venture with UB in regard to potential takeover.