INDIA/UK: Whyte & Mackay talks still on, says UB executive
Reports in India claimed today (29 January) that UB's bid to buy Whyte & Mackay had once again reached an impasse over price.
A report in Indian newspaper The Economic Times said Whyte & Mackay had raised its price tag to GBP600m (US$1.2bn), with UB tabling an offer of GBP400m.
However, P. J. Murali, CFO of UB's distilling arm, United Spirits, told just-drinks that negotiations are ongoing and at a "very advanced stage".
"To my mind, we've not hit a hurdle on price. Bilateral discussions are still going on and are at a very advanced stage," Murali said.
UB and Whyte & Mackay began takeover talks last October but those discussions were believed to have hit a snag over the price demanded by Whyte & Mackay's chairman and chief executive Vivian Imerman.
However, in December, industry sources claimed a deal could be finalised by the end of this month as the two sides edged close to an agreement on the value of Whyte & Mackay.
Murali insisted there is "no definite time frame" on how long the takeover talks could last. However, he said UB remained interested in Whyte & Mackay's due to the UK distiller's branded and bulk Scotch whisky businesses.
Murali said: "We are leaders in India and we want to grow globally. Whyte & Mackay is a good opportunity for us."
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