Coca-Cola set to follow Costa Coffee buy with multi-billion pound bid for Horlicks

Coca-Cola's interest in Horlicks comes just weeks after its acquisition of British coffee chain Costa Coffee for £3.9 billion.
Coca-Cola's interest in Horlicks comes just weeks after its acquisition of British coffee chain Costa Coffee for £3.9 billion. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (BLOOMBERG)- The Coca-Cola Co is moving forward with its interest in GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Indian malted milk drink company Horlicks Ltd, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The company is making preparations ahead of a deadline for first round bids, said the newspaper, which didn't say where it got the information. The newspaper has previously reported that the transaction may be valued at £3 billion (S$5.35 billion).

Coca-Cola's interest in Horlicks comes just weeks after its acquisition of British coffee chain Costa Coffee for £3.9 billion, reflecting the company's strategy to diversify away from soft drinks. Coca Cola, its adviser Citigroup and GSK declined to comment to the Sunday Telegraph.

GSK announced a strategic review of Horlicks and other nutrition-focused products in March to potentially help fund its US$13 billion buyout of Novartis AG's stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture.

Other large consumer retail companies such as Kellogg Co, Unilever Plc, Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, The Kraft Heinz Co and Nestle SA have also registered interest in Horlicks, according to the Sunday Telegraph, as well as private equity firm KKR & Co Inc.