Blackstone, Carlyle eye Kraft’s India consumer food biz; ADIA may back UPL unit
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US-based food and beverage major The Kraft Heinz Company is in exploratory talks with potential buyers to sell its consumer food division in India at a valuation of about $1 billion, The Economic Times reported.

Private equity firms Blackstone and Carlyle, and strategic buyers Abbott, Emami, Wipro Consumer Care, Zydus Wellness and ITC are among the suitors in the fray, the report said, citing people aware of the development.

Kraft Heinz’s brands in India include Complan, Glucon-D, Nycil, Heinz and Sampriti Ghee.

Kraft Heinz had given the mandate to JPMorgan and Lazard for advising on the sale, according to the report.

The development comes after GlaxoSmithKline initiated a strategic review of milk drinks brand Horlicks, which competes with Complan, and its other consumer healthcare nutrition products businesses in order to support its $13 billion deal to buy Novartis’ 36.5% stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture.

The majority of Horlicks and other nutrition products sales are generated in India. The strategic review will include an assessment of GlaxoSmithKline’s 72.5% stake in Mumbai-listed GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd.

In another report, The Economic Times said that sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is set to pick up a 20% stake in Mauritius-based UPL Corporation Ltd, a subsidiary of Indian agrochemical major UPL Ltd, for $1 billion.

Citing people aware of the development, the report said that UPL will use the equity funding to acquire Arysta LifeScience, the agricultural pesticides business of NYSE-listed Platform Specialty Products Corp., for $4.3 billion.

UPL will raise the remaining funds from Asian and European banks to finance this deal, according to the report. The acquisition will be done through UPL Corporation.

Arysta LifeScience focuses on the development, formulation, registration, marketing and distribution of crop protection products for specialty applications, including seed treatments and biosolutions. The company employs about 3,300 people in 60 countries and recorded revenue of $1.9 billion in 2017.

Meanwhile, drugmaker Aurobindo Pharma Ltd is in advanced discussions to buy UK-based Mallinckrodt’s speciality generics business in the US for $850-900 million, The Economic Times reported, citing people aware of the development.

The talks between Aurobindo and Mallinckrodt resumed in May, the report said.

In October 2017, VCCircle had reported that Aurobindo had walked away from the race to purchase the generics business of Mallinckrodt.

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