Bengaluru, Sept 25: Tata Coffee has reportedly started negotiations to acquire 12,000 hectares of coffee plantations belonging to Cafe Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha for Rs 1,200-1,500 crore.
Coffee Day's operations, including personal assets and coffee plantations, is currently being handled by Siddhartha's wife, Malavika Hedge, after he died by suicide last year in August amid allegations that he faced pressure from lenders, a private equity firm and harassed by tax officials.
This development comes on the heels of Tata Consumer Products (TCP) approving an exploration of acquisition of Cafe Coffee Day's vending machine business. CCD is looking for a valuation of about Rs 2,000 crore for the same, a Bloomberg report said.
Siddhartha is believed to have availed loans worth Rs 2,000 from banks like HSBC, Rabo Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, RBL and IndusInd Bank. Some of the lenders have already initiated recovery proceedings against the plantation assests last November.
"Discussions between Tata Coffee and Hedge started in February but were put on hold because of Covid," a source told the publication. "Talks have resumed, though the deal may be in preliminary stages," he added.
A family representative, however, told that the information is speculative and is to be treated as baseless rumours. The representative further stated that none of the lenders have invoked recovery procedings on plantation assets.
Apart from the coffeee plantations, Siddhartha also owned silver oak and timber plantations priced at about Rs 2,000 crore. His personal assets included The Serai Resorts, a luxury hospitality resorts.
Tata group has completed the restructuring of the consumer business and TCP’s joint venture with Starbucks progressing well. Deliberations to acquire the plantations are largely with the view of scaling up Tata Coffee’s land base. TCP holds 57.48 per cent stake in Tata Coffee.