Market regulator SEBI has allowed more time to Diageo Plc for launching the open offer to acquire United Spirits shares. However, Diageo will have to pay an interest of 10 per cent per annum for the period of delay to the public shareholders tendering their shares in the open offer, said SEBI.

JM Financial, manager of the open offer, said the revised schedule will be announced once it gets all the necessary regulatory approvals. According to SEBI’s January 31 directive, the letters of offer should be dispatched to public shareholders within seven days and the share tendering period should start within next five days, which means not later than February 18. The payment to all shareholders was required to be completed by March 18.

However, JM Financial asked for SEBI permission to begin the tendering period within 12 days on receipt of all applicable statutory approvals. SEBI has accepted the request but asked the acquirer to pay an additional interest payment for the delay.

SEBI had earlier cleared the open offer proposal by Diageo for purchase of 26 per cent stake in United Spirits.

The proposal, however, awaits Competition Commission of India's clearance.

The open offer was originally scheduled to start on January 7, but was postponed as SEBI sought some clarifications before passing 'conditional' nod.

The United Spirits stock closed at Rs 1,930.05, up 0.9 per cent, over the previous day’s close.

badrinarayanan.ks@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 11, 2013)
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