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Bisleri chairman says he is in talks to sell company to Tata group

A file photo of the Tata logo.

A file photo of the Tata logo. , photo credit: AFP

India’s Bisleri International is in talks to sell itself to salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group, the packaged water company’s chairman Ramesh Chauhan said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.

However, Mr. Chouhan during his interview denied that a deal was being finalised.

Earlier, The Economic Times had reported Mr Chouhan that Tata Consumer Products would buy the company for up to ₹70 billion ($857.38 million).

Bisleri, which is owned by The Coca-Cola Company’s Kinley and PepsiCo Inc. competes with K Aquafina, did not respond to Reuters requests for comment. Chauhan could not be reached for comment.

Tata Consumer remains in discussions with various parties, including Bisleri International, as it evaluates “various strategic opportunities for growth and expansion”, the company said in a statement, without giving further details.

Mr. Chauhan, who launched Bisleri in 1969, is known for creating well-known domestic soft-drink brands including Thumsup, Gold Spot, Citra, Maaza and Limca, according to the company’s website. He sold the soft-drink portfolio to Coca-Cola in 1993.

Tata Consumer, which sells the popular Tata Salt, Himalayan Mineral Water and runs a joint venture with Starbucks in India, made an offer for Bisleri in September, according to media reports.

Shares of Tata Consumer rose 3.2% to Rs 794.75 in early trade, the highest level since October 6.

Tata Consumer Products reported a bigger-than-expected increase in quarterly profit on October 20, helped by a rise in salt prices and an uptick in demand for everything from mineral water to Starbucks coffee.

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