Diageo-controlled United Spirits has offloaded its Whyte & Mackay unit

Diageo-controlled United Spirits has offloaded its Whyte & Mackay unit

United Spirits, the Diageo-controlled Indian drinks firm, has today completed the sale of Whyte & Mackay to Emperador Inc for GBP430m (US$729m) after clearing regulatory hurdles. 

In a filing, United Spirits said it has sold its entire stake in the Scotch whisky producer to Emperador UK, a subsidiary of Emperador Inc. The Philippines-based Brandy producer is itself owned by Alliance Global Group Inc. 

The deal was first announced in May

As part of the deal, Emperador has committed to supply United Spirits with Scotch whisky for the next three years to secure the “short- to medium-term needs of the company”. 

United Spirits said it will use the proceeds to pay down the GBP370m debt from its original acquisition of W&M. Earlier this month, the Indian unit reported first-quarter net losses of INR555.6m (US$9.1m). 

Diageo, which took majority control of United Spirits in July, agreed to sell Whyte & Mackay after the UK's competition authorities raised concerns over its control of the Scotch whisky market. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been running an investigation on the situation. 

However, the CMA said today it has approved the deal. Chris Walters, CMA director of economics, said: "I am pleased that UK consumers will benefit from the preservation of competition in the supply of bottled blended Scotch whisky as a result of Emperador acquiring Whyte & Mackay.” 

The sale was also cleared by the Reserve Bank of India after a review. 

In a statement to just-drinks today, Diageo said: “The deal has now completed and all other regulatory requirements have been met.”