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PepsiCo said to be exploring offer for Balaji Wafers

 Balaji Magic Masala
August 21, 2013
PepsiCo Inc., the world’s largest snack-food maker, is among suitors exploring a bid for India’s Balaji Wafers Pvt as it pushes to sell more chips in developing countries, said two people familiar with the matter.

PepsiCo hasn’t submitted an offer and a deal may not emerge, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.

Balaji, based in Rajkot in western India, manufactures and distributes potato chips and other grain-based bagged snacks in flavours such as masala.

Chief executive officer Indra Nooyi has tried to wrest a greater share of snack markets in developing countries by appealing to local tastes.

The Purchase, New York-based company has added more spicy offerings and recruited Bollywood actors as brand ambassadors to get a greater share of India’s snack market, which Euromonitor Plc projects will be worth Rs.268 billion ($4.2 billion) by 2018.

“The Virani family plans to sell up to a 49% stake for as much as $300 million”, people familiar with the matter said.

Jeff Dahncke, a spokesman for PepsiCo, declined to comment.

Balaji is seeking a partner who will invest funds and help it expand operations, founder and managing director Chandubhai Virani said in an interview.

While potential suitors have come saying they want to buy out the whole company, the family isn’t interested in selling the entire business, Virani said in a telephone interview from his office. “Discussions with Pepsi and others are ongoing”,Virani said.

Companies in this Article
Balaji Wafers is one of the larger potato chips producing companies in India, with a high market share especially in Gujarat.
Frito-Lay North America (FLNA) includes Pepsico's snack operations in the United States and Canada where the company dominates the market with a range of savory snacks brands including Lay's, Ruffles, Doritos, Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos and Sunchips