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Diageo-USL deal hits CCI hurdle, changes likely

PTI  New Delhi, January 16, 2013
First Published: 21:48 IST(16/1/2013) | Last Updated: 21:49 IST(16/1/2013)

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is believed to have expressed reservations over UK-based Diageo's proposed Rs. 11,167-crore purchase of a majority stake in UB group's United Spirits Ltd (USL), as it has found certain clauses of the deal to be based on probabilities and not definitives.

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Market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had earlier expressed its reservations over the deal.

The CCI is not comfortable with the terms of the deal that provide for existing promoters of USL giving a preferential treatment to Diageo, if the latter fails to get the required number of shares from public shareholders through an open offer, sources close to the development said.

The anti-trust regulator has asked the companies to rework the ambiguous parts and make the deal more definitive in nature, said sources, adding that the CCI might even send back the application, if the companies fail to satisfy its concerns.

Diageo had announced a deal on November 9, under which it agreed to acquire up to 53.4% stake in USL for Rs. 11,167 crore.

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