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JSA, Trilegal bring Heineken beer domestic


J Sagar Associates (JSA) and Trilegal have represented Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) and Heineken International respectively on brokering the agreement to allow United Breweries (UB) to make Heineken brand beer in India.

JSA represented its close client APB, with Delhi corporate partner Upendra Sharma leading the team, assisted by senior associates Sidharrth Shankar and Rashmi Sharma.

Upendra Sharma said: "APB has been a long-standing client - originally we were referred APB by Heineken itself since they internally structured all their investments in India through APB."

He said he had advised APB on its original move into India after acquiring Aurangabad Breweries in 2006. JSA's relationship with APB then became a separate one from the Heineken relationship.

Allen & Overy (A&O) was the international counsel to Heineken, with which it has had a very long-standing relationship.

A&O's Indian best-friend firm Trilegal was then referred the Heineken relationship, with partners Delano Furtado and Sridhar Gorthi leading the company on the current deal.

A&O had also represented Heineken on its joint takeover battle with Carlsberg of beverage maker Scottish & Newcastle almost two years ago.

The complex deal resulted in a spate of disputes in dividing up the Scottish & Newcastle kingdom, which included a 37.5 per cent stake in Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher brewer UB.

Heineken acquired that stake as part of the takeover but ran into problems because of its pre-existing joint venture with UB rival APB, which manufactures Tiger Beer.

The deal struck between Heineken, APB and UB will resultin UB merging its Indian joint ventures into UB, giving Heineken equal representation on the UB board.

The locally-brewed variant of Heineken is planned to launch in summer 2010.

Upendra Sharma said that the transaction was a tough one, considering the multiple jurisdictions involved.

"It started about a year back and then there was a lull and it just picked up last month," he commented about the timeline of the deal.

Trilegal declined to comment.

UB was advised in India by Kanga & Co.

Photo by Felix Triller

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