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Is Tata buying Bisleri? In discussions with several players to sell Bisleri, says chairman Ramesh Chauhan

New Delhi: Veteran industrialist Ramesh Chauhan on Thursday said he is looking for a buyer for his packaged water business Bisleri International and is in talks with several players including Tata Consumer Products Ltd.

However, the 82-year-old pioneer of the Indian packaged water business denied reports that a deal worth Rs 7,000 crore has been struck with Tata Consumer Products Limited (TCPL).

When asked if he is selling his Bisleri business, Ramesh Chauhan replied in the affirmative. “Yes, we are,” he told PTI.

However, he also said that the group is in discussion with several potential buyers.

Asked about reports that he has agreed to sell his business to a Tata group firm, Bisleri International Chairman Chouhan said, “It is not correct… We are still in discussion.”

When asked about the reasons for the sale of the Bisleri business, the eighty-year-old business leader said that someone has to take over and look into it.

Chouhan said his daughter Jayanti was not interested in taking over the business.

Later in a media statement, a Bisleri International spokesperson said: “We are in discussions at this time and cannot disclose further.”

Three decades ago, the Chauhan family sold their soft drinks business to the American beverage company The Coca-Cola Company. He transferred brands such as Thums Up, Gold Spot, Citra, Maaza and Limca to the Atlanta-headquartered firm in 1993.

Of these brands, Thums Up has already become a billion-dollar brand and Coca-Cola expects fruit drinks brand Maza to also become a billion-dollar brand by 2024.

Chauhan re-entered the soft drinks segment in 2016 by launching “Bisleri POP”, but he again failed to create magic.

Till the time of writing the news, the reply of TCPL, the FMCG arm of the Tata Group, could not be known.

The Tata group firm, which has an ambition to become “a formidable player in the FMCG industry”, has made a few acquisitions in the recent past and is expanding its reach in the addressable market.

If TCPL’s deal with Bisleri goes through, it is going to turn the Tata group firm into a leader in the fast-growing bottled water segment.

TCPL is already present in the bottled water segment with its brand Himalayan, which is selling packaged mineral water. Apart from this, it is also present in the hydration segment with Tata Copper Plus Water and Tata Gluco.

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