31st May 2005: As a prelude to the proposed merger that will create the world’s second largest liquor company, the Vijay Mallya-controlled United Breweries (UB) group has decided on an open offer for the remaining 7% stake in Herbertsons before delisting the company from the stock exchanges. The UB group is consolidating its four spirit companies — McDowell’s & Co, Herbertsons, Shaw Wallace & Co and Triumph Distillers & Vintners (TDV) — under one entity, United Spirit.
In March, the UB group bought 49% stake in Herbertsons by paying Rs 131 crore to Kishore Chhabria. Following the deal, UB’s holding in Herbertsons has risen to 93%. Herbertsons, which owns the largest whisky brand in the country — Bagpiper, which sells over 7m cases a year — is a major player in the 85m cases domestic spirits market.
A senior UB official said, “As per the Sebi guidelines, we have to go for an open offer to acquire the remaining 7% stake in Herbertsons through a reverse book building process. We will announce the open offer some time in June.”