Whyte & Mackay for sale at expected £450mBy Lucy Shaw
India’s United Spirits has hired a trio of banks to oversee the sale of its Scotch whisky company Whyte & Mackay, which is expected to fetch up to £450m.
Investment banks Rothschild, Rabobank and Standard Chartered have been appointed to handle the sale, which, Reuters reports, is expected to start next week.
The sale is taking place in order to appease concerns raised by UK competition regulators after drinks giant Diageo bought a 28.8% controlling stake in United Spirits last July.
According to Reuters, potential buyers, including private equity firms and drinks companies, were contacted at the end of last week to gauge their interest.
Companies who may be keen to buy include rival drinks giants Pernod Ricard, Remy Cointreau and Campari.
The Telegraph reports that Whyte and Mackay’s former owner, South African drinks tycoon Vivian Imerman, known as “the man from Del Monte”, could be interested in buying back the company to add to his spirits and beer business.
Imerman sold Whyte & Mackay to United Spirits in 2007 for £595.
Bidders are being allowed include offers for the jewel in Whyte & Mackay’s crown – Scotch single malt brand Dalmore, known for its stag’s head logo.
The inclusion of Dalmore in the sale would likely tip it over the £450m mark.
Whyte & Mackay owns a 7% share of the UK blended Scotch whisky market, while Diageo, which owns the Johnnie Walker brand, has around a 20% of the blended market.
In addition to its own label, Whyte & Mackay, which was founded in 1884, produces Scotch for supermarket own labels. United Spirits is owned by flamboyant Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya.