'Coca-Cola was in talks to buy Siddhartha's CCD stake'

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Coffee Day Enterprises missing founder-owner VG Siddhartha was in talks with global soft drinks giant Coca-Cola to sell his stake in the coffee chain.

According to multiple sources in the know, the company’s promoter group led by Siddhartha was trying to offload his stake in the company by 20-30 per cent to Coca Cola. “The company was in the early stages of the talks with The Coca-Cola Company,” a source privy to the development told DH.

In fact, the contours of the deal were likely to be announced after the Coffee Day Enterprises’ board meeting on Tuesday, another source said.

According to the sources, the company was in talks with the top management of Coca-Cola from Atlanta. "Officials from the beverage maker's global team are engaged in active talks with the Coffee Day management," the source said.

If the deal goes through, it would be Coca-Cola's second major investment after acquiring UK-based Costa Coffee for $5.1 billion in September last year.

When contacted, Coffee Day Enterprises declined to comment on the issue.

The sale is said to be a part of the debt reduction programme that Siddhartha had embarked upon, which saw the company and its founder sell close to 20 per cent stake in mid-tier IT services company Mindtree for Rs 3,269 crore to engineering behemoth L&T.

The promoter group holds a 53.93 per cent of the stake in the Coffee Day Enterprises. Of this, Siddhartha owns a 32.75 per cent stake, while his wife and former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna’s daughter Malavika Hegde held a 4.05 per cent stake. The remainder was held by the couple’s privately-owned entities -- Devadarshini Info Technologies Pvt Ltd, Coffee Day Consolidations Private Limited, Gonibedu Coffee Estates Pvt Ltd and Sivan Securities Private Limited.

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