Tata Group, Dabur among bidders for $1b Kraft Heinz’ India assets

A Heinz Ketchup bottle sits between a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese and a bottle of Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce on a grocery store shelf in New York City, New York, U.S. March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Kraft Heinz Co. has narrowed the list of bidders for a portfolio of Indian businesses it’s selling that includes the children’s milk drink Complan, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Tata Group, India’s biggest conglomerate, and Dabur India Ltd., the $11.3 billion consumer-goods company, are among suitors selected for the second round of bidding, according to the people. The sale has also drawn interest from an arm of Cadila Healthcare Ltd. and other potential buyers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Kraft Heinz has been seeking about $1 billion for the assets, the people said. In addition to the Complan product, the Indian businesses being sold include the Glucon D instant energy drink, Nycil talcum powder and Sampriti clarified butter, the people said.

Kraft Heinz extended gains in New York trading Friday, rising 5.9 percent to $62.90 at 9:54 a.m. after earlier touching $63.04. That’s the biggest intraday jump since May.

Tata Group is considering doing any potential deal through listed unit Tata Global Beverages Ltd., according to one of the people. Spokesmen for Tata Group, Dabur and Tata Global Beverages declined to comment. Representatives for Kraft Heinz and Cadila didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Any transaction would add to the $11.9 billion of acquisitions targeting the Indian consumer industry this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Kraft Heinz is bringing Complan to market as U.K. pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline Plc weighs selling its stake in its Indian consumer health subsidiary, which owns malted milk brand Horlicks.

The price sought by Kraft Heinz translates into more than 20 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, one of the people said. Some potential bidders have balked at the valuation, due to what they see as lower growth prospects for certain products amid changing consumer tastes in India, the people said.

There’s no certainty the suitors will proceed with binding offers, and Kraft Heinz could decide to keep the business, according to the people.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.