‘Vijay Mallya may sell UB stake to Heineken’

Vijay Mallya,scrambling to raise funds to rescue his ailing Kingfisher Airlines is considering the sale of all or part of his stake in United Breweries,his flagship beer business,to Dutch brewer Heineken,said people familiar with the situation

Written by Reuters | Mumbai | Published: March 30, 2012 12:52 am

Vijay Mallya,scrambling to raise funds to rescue his ailing Kingfisher Airlines is considering the sale of all or part of his stake in United Breweries (UB),his flagship beer business,to Dutch brewer Heineken,said people familiar with the situation.

They added that Mallya has the option of selling a stake in UB to ease his financial woes,and Heineken would be a keen buyer to gain control of India’s biggest brewer.

Heineken holds a 37.38 per cent stake in UB as a legacy of its takeover of Scottish and Newcastle in 2008. The purchase of 13 per cent,valued at $370 million at current market prices,would take Heineken over the 50 per cent mark.

Mallya owns around 19 per cent of UB and has held talks with different parties to try and raise cash for his ailing Kingfisher Airline. There are no active talks going on at the moment with Heineken,the people said.

“Mallya is clearly looking at all his options and if he did look to sell a stake to give Heineken control of United Breweries then he would find a willing buyer,” said one person with knowledge of the situation.

A spokesman at Mallya’s UB Group did not answer calls or reply to text messages from Reuters. A spokesman for Heineken declined to comment.

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