Tata group Seeks Control Of Haldiram

Tata Group’s consumer unit is in talks to buy at least 51% of popular snack food maker Haldiram’s but is not comfortable with the $10 billion valuation sought, two people briefed on the matter said.

If successfully concluded, a deal would see the conglomerate directly compete with Pepsi and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail.

Haldiram’s, a household name in India, is also talking with private equity firms including Bain Capital about the sale of a 10% stake, they said.

Tata Consumer Products, which owns UK tea company Tetley and has a partnership with Starbucks in India, is negotiating the stake purchase, the sources told Reuters.

A third person with direct knowledge of the talks said Tata Group wanted to buy more than 51% but has told Haldiram’s that its “ask is very high.”

The potential acquisition represents an exciting opportunity for Tata group, the person said, adding: “Tata (Consumer) is seen as a tea company. Haldiram’s is huge in the consumer space and has a wide market share.”

Reuters reported that the sources spoke on condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for Tata Consumer Products said it “does not comment on market speculation”. Haldiram’s Chief Executive Krishan Kumar Chutani and Bain declined to comment.

Family-run Haldiram’s traces its origins back to a tiny shop founded in 1937 and is well-known for its crispy “bhujia” snack sold for as little as 10 rupees across mom-and-pop stores.

It has almost 13% share of India’s $6.2 billion savoury snack market, according to Euromonitor International. Pepsi, famous for its Lay’s chips, also has around 13%.

Haldiram’s snacks are also sold in overseas markets like Singapore and the United States. The company has around 150 restaurants selling local food, sweets and western cuisine.

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