Mallya hits the Mittal barricade

Overseas pursuits are just not working out for Indians, reports BR Srikanth.
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Updated on May 30, 2006 02:33 AM IST
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None | ByBR Srikanth, Bangalore

Overseas acquisition plans are not exactly working out for India-born industrialists. And there may be more than just business considerations playing a role in it.

A few days after Laxmi N Mittal's bid to take over Arcelor received a jolt (after the Luxembourg-based company merged with Russian steelmaker Severstal), it was Vijay Mallya's turn to see his dream of acquiring French champagne major Taittinger shattered.

Mallya's UB Group shelved its plans to acquire Taittinger (for which it was the frontrunner) because of a revised price. Starwood Capital, which took control of Taittinger last year and put it up for sale recently, asked UB Group to jack up its offer by 15-20 per cent -- a move termed as "crazy". "That was too much and didn't merit a fresh bid. So we decided to drop our acquisition plans," sources in UB told HT.

Earlier, six companies had been shortlisted for the Taittinger buyout and market sources confirmed Mallya's bid of Rs 3,000 crore was the highest.

The dark similarity between Mittal's and Mallya's cases: both reportedly faced opposition for their Indian roots. In Mittal's case, there have been reports of racial remarks by certain sections. In Mallya's case, Taittinger workers resisted his bid, saying they did not want a non-French owner.

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