In the mid 1990s, Tata Tea had tried and failed to acquire British tea maker Tetley. In 2000, it tried again and succeeded. The acquisition was meant to harness Tata Tea and Tetleys synergies. Tetley had a well established distribution network and experience of selling tea bags in markets such as the US, UK, Canada and Europe. Tata Tea was strong in countries like India and in the Middle East, according to Tata Log Eight Modern Stories From a Timeless Institution, a book by Harish Bhat, managing director and chief executive of Tata Global Beverages Ltd (earlier Tata Tea). The groups biggest acquisition to date is Tata Steels purchase of Anglo Dutch steel maker Corus Group Plc in 2007.
The company has since been renamed Tata Steel Europe. The acquisition of Corus, which was Europes second largest steel maker, catapulted the company into becoming the worlds seventh largest steel producer, although it hasnt been as financially remunerative as stock market analysts would have liked. Another acquisition, and more fruitful than the Corus purchase to date, was Tata Motors acquisition of the iconic British car maker Jaguar Land Rover. The acquisition provided a hedge against the weakness faced by the companys domestic passenger car business. There have been several other acquisitions TCS bought CMC Ltd; Tata Sons acquired a controlling stake in state run Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (now known as Tata Communications Ltd); Tata Motors bought the heavy vehicles unit of Daewoo Motors in Korea; Tata Steel acquired Singapores NatSteel; and Indian Hotels Co. Ltd took over management of The Pierre in New York. But if globalization reflects the buy side of the Tata story, then efforts to innovate indicate the make side of it.