Glenmorangie, the leading Scotch malt whisky company, has confirmed it has been instructed by the Macdonald Family and Trust - who own over 50% of the company - to sell their entire shareholding in the company.  This, in turn, has triggered the sale of the company.

The announcement comes after broke the story late last night that the company was in takeover negotiations with other drinks groups.

The Macdonald Family and Trust own 52% of the total company shareholding, with drinks partner, Brown-Forman owning 10%.  The remaining 38% of the shares are primarily held in the city and also by private shareholders.  In accordance with UK Takeover Code regulations, the intended sale by the Macdonald Family triggers the sale of the remaining 48% of shares.

"The Macdonald Family, who have been involved in the Company since 1893, have indicated their wish to exit from the business at a time when they can be in control of the process and when the Company and share price are performing very well," a statement from the company said.

As just-drinks revealed last night, The firm is understood to have instructed NM Rothschilds to issue a document to all potentially interested parties. This not only gives a desired purchase price but asks potential bidders for details over how they would intend to build the existing Glenmorangie brands and guarantee the future of the firm's estate [three distilleries and a bottling plant] and workforce.

The company has a market capitalisation of £191m and net debt of £34m. Taking into account the value of the brands and stocks, one industry source estimated the group could fetch up to £300m.

Glenmorangie said that a number of interested parties have been approached, although it did not divulge who those parties might be. Among the possible frontrunners are Brown-Forman, Bacardi and even French luxury goods group LVMH.

"A preferred bidder is expected to be announced by early October and detailed negotiations will be entered into at that time.  It is expected that a sale will be finalised within the next three months," the statement said.

Chief Executive, Paul Neep, said:  "Glenmorangie is an extremely successful and profitable company with world renowned premium Scotch whisky brands.  Our shares have strongly outperformed the stock market and have been viewed as star performers for investors. 

"The Board is complying with the wishes of the Family and we are working to achieve an orderly sale.  It is too early to comment on a potential outcome.  The key objective is to seek value for all shareholders and to maintain employment as far as possible.  Until a new owner is identified, it is 'business as usual' through this challenging period."