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Coke mulls bidding for GSK’s Horlicks

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London : The Coca-Cola Company is moving forward with its interest in GlaxoSmithKline’s Indian malted milk drink company Horlicks, according to a report.

The company is making preparations ahead of a deadline for first-round bids, said the Sunday Telegraph report, which didn’t say where it got the information. The newspaper has previously reported that the transaction may be valued at $3.9 billion. Coca-Cola’s interest in Horlicks comes just weeks after its acquisition of UK coffee chain Costa for 3.9 billion pounds, reflecting the company’s strategy to diversify away from soft drinks. Coca Cola, its adviser Citigroup and GSK declined to comment.

GSK announced a strategic review of Horlicks and other nutrition-focused products in March to potentially help fund its $13-billion buyout of Novartis’ stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture. Other large consumer retail companies such as Kellogg, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser Group, The Kraft Heinz and Nestle have also registered interest in Horlicks, besides private equity firm KKR & Co.