“Negotiations are still on with the Tatas and no binding agreement has been signed yet,” says Ramesh Chauhan, Chairman, Bisleri International
Is the deal with Tata Consumers done?
Well we are negotiating, I do not know whether it is done or not.
How soon do you think you would be able to conclude? Give a yes or no depending on the negotiation. When do you think clarity will emerge and you will be able to conclude it?
I do not know that. See there are two parties – the Tatas and us.
Have Tatas made any kind of non-binding price offer to you?
Are you in talks with any other players? Have there been any other suitors for the Bisleri brand? If so, could you tell us which ones?
No, I cannot tell you.
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Can I say that Ramesh Chauhan is now looking at encashing the great brand Bisleri which he has taken years to create and now he is preparing for a second life post that?
Yes that is true. I cannot allow it to die.
What about succession planning? Wouldn’t you want to retain this brand in the family?
No, there is no one interested.
What would be your thoughts on the Tata Group taking forward the Bisleri brand?
I mean they can take it over. We are looking for someone who will nurture it and grow it.
Can I conclude our interaction with some kind of an indication that you are confirming to us is that you are talking to Tatas right now but the negotiations are still on?
There will be no minority stake in the company whatsoever, right? Will the entire business be sold off if and when it happens?
Yes. It is part of the negotiation.
We also understand that the Tatas are keen that the existing management continues for the next couple of years. Is that also there for consideration?
Yes, of course.
So if the deal goes through the current management will continue for how long?
It depends upon them.
So after giving up control of Bisleri to the Tata Group as and when it plays out after the negotiations have completed, what would be your focus and what would be something that you would look to focus on down the line?
No, I will focus on CSR activity.
So environmental, charitable causes, anything in particular on your mind?
You have created so many iconic brands, one is Bisleri. In the past, you have, sold Thums Up, Limca, Gold Spot to Coca-Cola company. This time you are not talking to Coca-Cola or Pepsi to sell Bisleri; only Tatas?
No, Tatas and others but not now.