Oddbins has moved to deny reports that its owner, French wine giant Castel Frères, is in talks to merge the UK drinks chain with rival retailer Thresher Group.

In a joint statement today (14 December), Oddbins managing director Fabrice Bidault and Eudes Morgan, MD of Castel-owned sister retailer Nicolas UK, admitted that a meeting had taken place with Thresher owner Vision Capital.

But newspaper reports of a proposed merger between the companies were "without any basis of fact", the pair said.

"As the largest wine company in Europe, many companies speak to the Castel Group with ideas and concepts for the UK marketplace," the statement continued.

"The owners of Threshers - Vision Capital - requested and held a meeting with the Castel Group under this basis. We can categorically state that the Castel Group is not proposing to acquire Threshers, sell Oddbins or is involved in any merger talks between Threshers and Oddbins."