INDIA/UK: UB nears Whyte & Mackay deal
Industry sources told just-drinks today (20 December) that a deal could be finalised by the end of next month.
UB is understood to have made an offer to buy 100% of Whyte & Mackay, which owns brands including the eponymous Scotch whisky and Vladivar vodka.
In October, negotiations between the two companies were believed to have hit a snag over the price demanded by Whyte & Mackay's chairman and chief executive Vivian Imerman.
UB chairman Dr. Vijay Mallya was said to have baulked at the GBP600m (US$1.2bn) price tag Imerman had slapped on Whyte & Mackay.
However, the two sides may have found common ground over the value of Whyte & Mackay. An industry source told just-drinks: "UB sees the value in the business; price is not really an issue."
The source said that any deal had yet to be finalised and that negotiations were still "in the balance".
However, the source added: "UB seems very interested. The intention is still there on its part. If something is going to happen, it will be towards the end of January."
UB, which dominates India's spirits market, is looking to boost its presence in the spirits and wine sectors overseas. In July, UB made its first direct investment outside Asia with the acquisition of Loire wine producer Bouvet-Ladubay for an undisclosed sum.
UB is said to be keen to buy Whyte & Mackay due to the UK company's stocks of aged whisky, as well as its stable of brands.
UB officials in Bangalore could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press. Whyte & Mackay declined to comment.
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