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British beverage heavyweight Diageo (NYSE: DEO ) is in talks to acquire part of India's United Spirits, according to a joint press release issued this morning by both companies. The companies noted, however, that "there is no certainty that these discussions will lead to a transaction."
United Spirits is part of United Breweries Holdings, which also includes Kingfisher Airlines as well as fertilizer and engineering interests. United Spirits Limited has 145 brands, 22 of which sell more than a million cases a year, and enjoys majority market share in India, according to United Breweries' website.
Some industry watchers posit that a deal could provide much-needed cash to help out Kingfisher Airlines. United Spirits' stock surged in Indian trading while Diageo was also trading higher, up nearly 2% by lunchtime Tuesday.