LONDON (The Deal) -- British drinks group Diageo (DEO) on Tuesday launched a bid for majority control of India's United Spirits that would value the company's entire share capital at 440.34 billion rupees ($7.3 billion).
The Rs114.49 billion, or Rs3,030-per-share, offer for up to 26% of United Spirits could lift Diageo's stake from almost 29% to close to 55% and comes a little over a year after a lower offer by Diageo garned just 0.04% of United Spirits.
That previoius offer was linked to a deal Diageo forged with Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya's troubled United Breweries Holdings Ltd. and associated companies in November 2012. Diageo has already paid out Rs65.7 billion for its 29% United Spirits holding.
The offer comes as the 400 million pounds ($670 million) auction of United Spirits' Scotch whisky business Whyte & Mackay Ltd. enters its final round. Among possible bidders ahead of the April 17 deadline, are private equity firm Lion Capital LLP, which has teamed up with former Whyte & Mackay CEO John Beard to front its approach, as well as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP and TPG Capital. Media reports have also mentioned Thai Beverage PCL, Italy's Davide Campari-Milano SpA and Russian-backed SPI Group Sarl, the maker of Stolichnaya Vodka.
Diageo, which agreed to put the U.K.-based distiller up for sale to get regulatory agreement for its previous United Spirits deal, brought in Rothschild, Rabobank NV and Standard Chartered Bank plc last year to handle the auction.