Olly Wehring

Diageo and UB - a two-horse race

By: Olly Wehring - 18 January 2007 16:23

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Looks like Diageo a ruffling a few Indian feathers at the moment - something the UK seems to be doing quite a lot of at the moment.

The drinks giant appears to be treading on the toes of Vijay Mallya’s UB Group in the country, with a bid to snatch the sponsorship of the McDowell Indian Derby horse race from UB, according to local reports.

The club which owns the race earlier this month received a INR150m (US$3.4m) bid from Diageo - three times what UB currently pays to sponsor the event. The club thought long and hard… and said no. UB will be allowed to sponsor the event until 2008 as agreed, the committee said. Since then, Diageo has put in another, even bigger offer of INR250m.

Considering the McDowell Derby is named after UB’s whisky brand, this could be quite a colourful fight. And, considering the strained relationship between the UK and India right now, I wouldn’t expect it to be resolved any day soon.

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