Its the end of a lively week for Whyte & Mackay

It's the end of a lively week for Whyte & Mackay

Vivian Imerman, the man who sold Whyte & Mackay to Vijay Mallya's UB Group in 2007, has publicly expressed an interest in buying back the Scotch whisky producer from Diageo.

Imerman, formerly chairman & CEO of Whyte & Mackay, took full ownership of the firm with investment partner Robert Tchenguiz back in 2005. Two years later, he masterminded the GBP595m (then US$1.18bn) divestment of W&M to United Spirits, the spirits division of The UB Group.

When Diageo took majority control of United Spirits earlier this year, the UK Office of Fair Trading began a review of the matter, on competition grounds. Subsequently, Diageo offered earlier this week to divest W&M's central operations, as well as its Invergordon, Jura and Fettercairn distilleries. The drinks giant hopes to keep hold of W&M's Dalmore and Tamnavulin distilleries.

In a statement released earlier today (29 November), Imerman, the founder of private investment firm Vasari, indicated his interest in a smaller W&M entity.

“Whyte & Mackay would make an important addition to the portfolio of spirits and beer businesses in Africa and Asia where Mr Imerman has been concentrating his efforts through his company Vasari since his five-year restraint expired last year,” the statement said. “The W&M brand would be complementary to the strategy of acquiring and growing businesses in these regions to take advantage of rapid consumer growth.”

When asked by just-drinks today if Vasari has made contact with Diageo, a spokesperson for the company declined to comment.

The UK's Office of Fair Trading is reviewing Diageo's offer.

For a full round-up of just-drinks' coverage of Diageo's proposed divestment of Whyte & Mackay, click here.