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Diageo announces tender offer for 26% of United Spirits

Bottles of United Spirits. McDowell Signature, clockwise from top, Royal Challenge, and Antiquity whiskeys are displayed on the shelves of a liquor store.
Sanjit Das | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Global drinks firm Diageo on Tuesday announced the launch of a tender offer to acquire up to 26 percent more in India's United Spirits in a deal valued at about $1.9 billion.

Diageo currently holds 28.8 percent in United Spirits and if the open offer is successful its stake in the Indian company will rise to 54.8 percent, said a statement issued by the tender offer managers.

Diageo seeks to acquire additional shares in United Spirits, at 3,030 rupees a share, up from its Friday's closing price of 2,557.25 rupees. The offer will be launched in June, said the statement.

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Diageo completed its acquisition of a stake in United Spirits in July last year, almost eight months after the companies announced the deal, because of legal and regulatory difficulties. A tender offer to raise stake in the company in 2012 failed as the offer price was lower than the market price of United Spirits at that time.

Diageo proposes to keep the United Spirits stock listed on the Indian market even after raising its stake to more than half, if the open offer is successful, Deirdre Mahlan, chief financial officer of Diageo, told Reuters.