Diageo Plc has agreed to buy a 53.4 percent stake in Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya's United Spirits Ltd for more than $2 billion, according to an internal memo related to the deal obtained by Reuters.
The purchase marks the biggest inbound Indian M&A deal since British oil firm Cairn Energy Plc's agreed to sell a majority stake in its Indian business to Vedanta Resources Plc last year. The Diageo deal concludes an on-again, off-again courtship that began in 2008.
The purchase would ramp up Diageo's presence in the world's largest whisky market, while Mallya will gain much-needed cash to reduce United Spirit's debt although it may not be enough to revive his grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd .
The two companies said in September that they were in talks about a possible deal.