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British drinks giant Diageo to buy 53 percent stake in India's United Spirits

Diageo PLC, the world's largest distiller, says it will buy a 53.4 percent stake in Indian drinks manufacturer United Spirits Ltd. in a deal worth $2 billion.

Diageo will acquire a 27.4 percent stake in United Spirits at 1440 rupees ($26.32) a share, or 660 million pounds ($1.05 billion), and make a tender offer for another 26 percent.

London-based Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, has been seeking access to India's fast-growing alcohol market.

United Spirits is controlled by Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya, who needs money to shore up his Kingfisher Airlines, which has been teetering near bankruptcy. Diageo says Mallya will remain chairman of United Spirits.

Diageo shares rose 0.2 percent Friday morning to 17.93 pounds on the London Stock Exchange.