Investing in the securities offered using this prospectus involves risk. You should consider carefully the risks described below, together with the risks described in the documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus and any risk factors included in the prospectus supplement, before you decide to buy our securities. If any of these risks actually occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could suffer, and the trading price and liquidity of the securities offered using this prospectus could decline, in which case you may lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Relating to Diageo's Business
You should read "Risk Factors" in Diageo's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008, which is incorporated by reference in this prospectus, or similar sections in subsequent filings incorporated by reference in this prospectus, for information on risks relating to Diageo's business.
Risks Relating to Diageo's Shares
Diageo's shares and American depositary shares may experience volatility which will negatively affect your investment.
In recent years most major stock markets have experienced significant price and trading volume fluctuations. These fluctuations have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the underlying companies. Accordingly, there could be significant fluctuations in the price of Diageo's shares and American depositary shares, or ADSs, each representing four ordinary shares, even if Diageo's operating results meet the expectations of the investment community. In addition,
announcements by Diageo or its competitors relating to operating results, earnings, volume, acquisitions or joint ventures, capital commitments or spending,
changes in financial estimates or investment recommendations by securities analysts,
changes in market valuations of other food or beverage companies,
adverse economic performance or recession in the United States or Europe, or
disruptions in trading on major stock markets,
could cause the market price of Diageo's shares and ADSs to fluctuate significantly.
Risks Relating to the Debt Securities, Warrants, Purchase Contracts and Units
Because Diageo is a holding company and currently conducts its operations through subsidiaries, your right to receive payments on debt securities issued by Diageo or on the guarantees is subordinated to the other liabilities of its subsidiaries.
Diageo is organized as a holding company, and substantially all of its operations are carried on through subsidiaries. Diageo plc had guaranteed a total of £6,970 million of debt as of June 30, 2008. Diageo's ability to meet its financial obligations is dependent upon the availability of cash flows from its domestic and foreign subsidiaries and affiliated companies through dividends, intercompany advances, management fees and other payments. Diageo's subsidiaries are not guarantors of the debt securities we may offer. Moreover, these subsidiaries and affiliated companies are not required and may not be able to pay dividends to Diageo. Claims of the creditors of Diageo's subsidiaries have priority as to the assets of such subsidiaries over the claims of Diageo. Consequently, in the event of insolvency of Diageo, the claims of holders of notes guaranteed or issued by Diageo would be structurally subordinated to the prior claims of the creditors of subsidiaries of Diageo.
Table of Contents
In addition, some of Diageo's subsidiaries are subject to laws restricting the amount of dividends they may pay. For example, subsidiaries of Diageo incorporated under the laws of England and Wales may be restricted by law in their ability to declare dividends due to failure to meet requirements tied to net asset levels or...