THE UK competition regulator said yesterday it would investigate whether drinks group Diageo’s purchase of a stake in United Spirits would have a detrimental impact on the spirits market.
The main area of concern is likely to be centred on United Spirits’ Whyte & Mackay whisky brand, because Diageo is the world’s biggest scotch company.
The Johnnie Walker and Guinness owner acquired a 25 per cent stake in the Indian group controlled by tycoon Vijay Mallya earlier this month.
The British company had wanted to take control of more than half of the group’s equity when it announced a deal in November 2012.
The Office of Fair Trading said any representations should be made by 2 August.
Shares in Diageo, which also owns the Smirnoff, Pimm’s and Tanqueray brands, were largely unaffected by the investigation, closing 0.3 per cent down at 2,040p yesterday.