Cobra, the Indian-themed beer popular in UK curry houses, has been put up for sale by its owner with a price tag of £200m.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, the Indian entrepreneur, has called in financial advisers to find a buyer for the brand, which has seen sales grow by more than 25% this year but has yet to make a profit since it launched almost 20 years ago.
The news comes after discussions broke down earlier this year over the sale of a 30% stake in Cobra to drinks giant Diageo in a deal worth around £30m.
Rival brewing giants InBev and SABMiller have already been linked with moves for Cobra, while Heineken and Carlsberg could also been interested and private equity investors are also likely to be approached.
Bilimoria formed Cobra in 1989. The beer was originally brewed in Bangalore for export to the UK. This year the company has implemented a series of measures intended to broaden its appeal ‘beyond the curry house’, including redesigned packaging, extensive TV advertising and a nationwide sampling campaign.