Sebi seeks clarification on Diageo offer for United Spirits

SEBI

Market regulator Sebi has sought additional details from global liquor giant Diageo with regard to its Rs 5,441 crore open offer for acquiring 26 per cent stake in UB Group firm United Spirits Ltd. The open offer is part of a proposed acquisition of up to 53.4 per cent stake in United Spirits (USL) by Diageo Plc for an aggregate amount of Rs 11,166.5 crore. As per the deal, announced on November 9, Diageo is acquiring a 27.4 per cent stake in USL, through a combination of purchase of shares from existing promoters and a preferential allotment of share, for Rs 5,725.4 crore. Any acquisition of 25 per cent or more stake in a listed company triggers a mandatory open offer for purchase of additional 26 per cent stake from the public shareholders and the same needs to be cleared by the market regulator.

The proposed open offer for an additional 26 per cent stake in USL entails purchase of about 3.8 crore shares at a price of Rs 1,440 per share, totalling to Rs 5,441 crore, by Relay BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Diageo.

Sebi had received the draft letter of this open offer on November 29 for purchase of 26 per cent stake in USL, as per the information available with the regulator.

As per Sebi's latest weekly update on processing status of takeover deals, the "reply is awaited from MB (Merchant Banker)" for United Spirits open offer. The clarifications were sought last week, while it could not be ascertained whether the same has been submitted to the regulator.

An acquirer can go ahead with the open offer only after Sebi issues its "observations" on the same. JM Financial is the merchant banker for the offer.

USL, the country's largest spirits company, is part of Vijay Mallya-led UB Group, whose aviation venture Kingfisher Airlines has been going through turbulent times for many months now and its licence is currently suspended.

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