Business Today

Mallya-Chhabria battles will continue

Even if Vijay Mallya and Kishore Chhabria settle their dispute over Officer's Choice, their brands will lock horns at the marketplace.

Suman Layak        Last Updated: October 9, 2012  | 22:59 IST

Vijay Mallya's tryst with the Chhabrias refuses to come to an end. As a young man he had teamed up with brothers Manu and Kishore Chhabria to take over Shaw Wallace Company (SWC) in 1985. But he was soon left high and dry by the Chhabrias.

When in the 1990s the brothers fell out with each other, Mallya again tied up with Kishore Chhabria, allowing him a stake in his company Herbertsons. Kishore Chhabria took control over a SWC subsidiary BDA (Brand: Officer's Choice) and walked out of the Shaw Wallace group controlled by his elder brother Manu. BDA became a subsidiary of Mallya's Herbertsons and Kishore was given an equal stake in Herbertsons (Brands: Bagpiper Whisky, Honey Bee Brandy and Romanov Vodka).

Brothers Chhabria settled their disputes and withdrew 141 cases against each other in 2001.

Kishore Chhabria also fell out with Mallya and mounted a takeover bid on Herbertsons. After a protracted battle, the two settled and Chhabria left Mallya's company taking  BDA with him and its single killer brand Officers Choice. Mallya paid Chhabria Rs 131 crore Chhabria for his Herbertson's stake.

Mallya bought Shaw Wallace in 2005 after Manu Chhabria's death. In 2011 he revived the Chhabria brothers' original battle over BDA - although Kishore had now transferred Officers Choice to another company with the acronym ABD (Allied Blenders and Distillers).

Kishore and Vijay have now settled once more for Rs 8 crore. For Mallya, today, any cash is welcome. For Kishore Chhabria, with Officer's Choice the largest selling brand of whiskey in the world - it is just good riddance. He has overtaken Mallya's McDowell No 1.  Even if  Mallya and Kishore Chhabria do not lock horns again, their brands already have.

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