Blog: Olly WehringDiageo ends United Spirits intrigue

Olly Wehring | 25 August 2009

Diageo has put an end to speculation that it may invest in United Spirits (USL), at least for now.

It has been apparent to just-drinks, as I'm sure it will have been to several others following the situation, that talks between the two companies were not going swimmingly.

There have been suggestions from the Diageo camp that Mallya and co were not that easy to deal with. Sources diplomatically described the progress of talks as "slow" earlier this year, although both Diageo and USL maintained that the dialogue was still open.

Now, the game is up. The main barriers - the size of Diageo's stake and the amount of investment  required by USL - have proven insurmountable.

Well, they have for now. On the face of it, some kind of tie-up still looks like a decent bet for the future.

India is one the world's largest countries, with a strongly emerging economy and a growing thirst for spirits. USL controls around two thirds of the market and, as part of Vijay Mallya's UB Group, has the biggest distribution network in the country's drinks sector.

Diageo, as the world's largest spirits firm, naturally wants a piece of that market. Its current joint-venture in India with Radico Khaitan has a spirits market share of around 10% - hardly enough for the world's leading spirits player.

However, exciting as India may be as a market prospect, it is early days. There is plenty of time for round two. 

United Spirits, meanwhile, has its short-term sights fixed on securing private equity investment.



Round-Up - Diageo, United Spirits hit the buffers

The long-running discussions between Diageo and United Spirits over a possible stake purchase have collapsed, with Diageo walking away from the table....


Bar Convent Berlin - Day one: A bigger beginning

just-drinks is in Berlin this week for Bar Convent Berlin. Here's the first part of Andy Morton's daily blog, which will keep you up-to-date at one of Europe's most important dates in the alcohol indu...


Well played, Lucozade

Responding to criticism on social media is tough. You've got to engage the consumer without starting an argument and - ideally - get them on side....


The Keurig Kold - what's under the hood?

Want to know how The Coca-Cola Co-backed Keurig Kold - released in the US yesterday - works?...

just-drinks homepage

Forgot your password?