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Vikram Bakshi offers buying out McDonald's stake in in JV

Source: PTI
January 30, 2014 21:11 IST
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The estranged Indian partner of McDonald's, Vikram Bakshi, on Thursday offered buying out the US food major's stake in their joint venture Connaught Plaza Restaurants.

The two parties are fighting for management control of the joint venture before the Company Law Board (CLB).

The counsel appearing for Vikram Bakshi said that his side wanted to buy out the 50 per cent stake of McDonald's India Private Ltd (MIPL) in Connaught Plaza Restaurants.

The valuation of the joint venture will be based on assets and not on McDonald's brand, the counsel added.

The McDonald's counsel, however, said that even his client was ready to buy out Bakshi's stake and had done valuation in 2008 and sought time to take instruction on this issue.

CLB member B S V Prakash Kumar has asked the parties to submit their proposed valuation structure by March 11 and directed listing of the matter on March 18 for next hearing.

"Counsel of the petitioners (Vikram Bakshi) states that the company (Connaught Plaza Restaurants) may be valued without taking the brand value in consideration and provide an opportunity to the petitioner to buy out stakes of the other company, to which the respondent (McDonald's) has come out with counter suggestion that they should also be provided an opportunity to buy out the stake of the other company," the CLB noted down in its order.

"Both sides seek time to get instruction from their parties," the order added. Incorporated in June 1995, Connaught Plaza Restaurants is a 50:50 joint venture between McDonald's Corporation and Vikram Bakshi and it has been running fast food outlets in North and East India.

In a public notice on August 30, McDonald's India said: "Vikram Bakshi has ceased to be the Managing Director of Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL) pursuant to expiry of Bakshi's term on July 17."

The move was challenged by Bakshi before the CLB, which on September 16 last year had directed maintaining status quo with respect to shareholding and board pattern and the right of the call option until its further order.

Meanwhile, McDonald's had on November 28 terminated its joint venture agreement with Bakshi by sending a notice, and moved the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) to settle the dispute.

Bakshi had nominated former Delhi High Court judge, Justice J K Mehra to represent his side in the arbitral panel. Bakshi had sought a stay over McDonald's move to approach the global forum from the CLB on the ground that the US food major had already moved an application under section 45 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act before it seeking an arbitration.

However, CLB denied the move saying that "there is no prohibition" against McDonald's approaching LCIA while section 45 application is pending before it. 

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