Diageo has stopped short of denying reports out of India today (11 September), claiming the drinks giant is in talks with the head of India's UB Group to acquire a strategic stake in UB's United Spirits unit.

Media reports have claimed that Diageo, Japanese firm Suntory and one other unnamed drinks company are in talks with UB Group chairman, Vijay Mallya, to buy a stake in United Spirits, a major player in its domestic spirits market.

"The interest is of (a) strategic nature," Mallya was cited as saying in a report from Business Standard. "We have a strong distribution network in India and global players wanting to enter India are keen on this. In turn, we will look to leverage our partners' global network for an international footprint. The talks, including with Diageo, are on."

When contacted by just-drinks, A spokesperson for Diageo said: 'Diageo continuously examines and evaluates opportunities to augment our business. Some of them come to fruition, but, naturally, many of them do not. We have no intention of providing a commentary on every transaction with which we are linked."

Meanwhile, in the Economic Times, a senior source within United Spirits was cited as saying that Suntory is hoping to acquire a 10% to 15% holding for around US$600m.

The value of any sale "depends on various things", Mallya was cited as saying. "(It depends on) who the potential investor is, what is the price offered, what they bring to the table, what they will do for us, and what we will do for them."