Diageo Gets Green Light for $358M China Deal

Diageo (NYSE:DEO), the world’s biggest spirits maker, received approval from Chinese authorities on Tuesday to buy the remaining 47% stake it does not already own in Sichuan Chengdu Shuijingfang for 233 million pounds ($358 million).

The maker of Johnnie Walker whiskey and Guinness is looking to buy the stake from its current Chinese partners in an effort to expand its footprint in one of the world’s largest consumer markets.

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Upon close, the business will transition from a joint venture to a wholly-owned enterprise owned by Diageo and lift Diageo’s indirect interest in the Shanghai-listed Sichuan Shuijingfang Co. to 39.71% from 21.05% currently.

“This is a milestone in the journey we began with our partners six years ago,” Gilbert Ghostine, president of Diageo Asia Pacific, said in a statement. “As the controlling shareholder in Shuijingfang, Diageo will continue to work with the senior Chinese management to build [it] into the leading international Bai Jiu brand.”

Shares of Diageo were up 2.3% to $104.52 in recent trade, pushing them up about 27% year-to-date.

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