The Wadias of Bombay Dyeing Group and France’s Groupe Danone appear to have ended their long-standing feud over the French company’s plans to enter India on their own and its use of Britannia Industries Ltd’s biscuits brand “Tiger” in several countries.
Groupe Danone has agreed to sell its entire 25.48 per cent indirect stake in India’s leading biscuit maker, Britannia, to Mauritius-registered Leila Lands Ltd, a company owned by the Wadias. The acquisition of this indirect stake through acquisition of 100 per cent of Groupe Danone’s unit Britannia Brands Ltd, UK, will double Leila Lands’ stake in Britannia to 59.96 per cent.
Britannia Brands owned and Leila Lands equally owned ABI Holdings Ltd, which through Associated Biscuits International Ltd and its five subsidiaries owned a 50.96 per cent stake.
The proposed deal between the Wadias and Groupe Danone would be announced on April 14 and the price to be finalised later would not exceed 25 per cent of the price worked under the country’s takeover regulations, Leila Lands said in a filing to the National Stock Exchange.
An email response by the Wadia Group said, “Leila Lands Limited has sent a notice to the stock exchange, that is required according to the law and SEBI Rules for the group to acquire Danone’s share. The notice is already clear that it is an inter-se transfer between the qualified promoters under SEBI rules (which effectively means that the acquirer will not be making an open offer to shareholders of Britannia).”
Both Britannia and Danone didn’t respond to email queries sent by Hindustan Times.
Tiger is the mass market biscuit brand of Britannia. Danone had applied for registration of the Tiger trademark in many countries, thereby provoking Wadias to take Danone to court.