The future of UK high street off licence chain Oddbins has been determined subject to the long-winded regulatory approval process following the sale of the drinks arm of the Seagram business.

Richard Macadam, Oddbins managing director, informed staff that the proposed management buyout scheme had failed as three separate bids had exceeded theirs, and the fate of the company had been sealed.

Macadam refused to announce who had succeeded Seagram, pointing to a secrecy contract shielding the new owners.

However, other sources within Oddbins have revealed the new owners to be Castel Frères, owners of a number of French wine brands, such as Baron de Lestac and the wine merchant, Nicolas.

Nicolas has been owned by Castel since 1988 and has 20 stores in central London, over 400 stores in France and further representations in Belgium, Germany and Poland.

When challenged about the deal, a spokesperson for Castel refused to rule out the purchase. A Seagram spokesperson insisted that no deal would be concluded until the regulatory procedures had been finalised.

The US$8.15bn sale of the entire Seagram drinks business saw Diageo and Pernod Ricard purchase leading brands such as Chivas Regal and Captain Morgan, while rejecting five brands: Oddbins, Sandeman, Four Roses, Mumm Sekt and the Seagram Beverage Company.

Oddbins currently has around 250 stores in the UK and a presence in both Calais and Ireland. Seagram purchased the Oddbins business and 55 stores in 1984.