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UK: Diageo avoids Whyte & Mackay action until OFT probe ends

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Diageo has confirmed that Whyte & Mackay's (W&M) “independence” will remain and its management kept separate, at least until the UK's competition authority has completed its review. 

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Speculation has been mounting over the future of the Glasgow-based Scotch whisky producer after Diageo completed the acquisition of a major stake in its parent company, United Spirits, last month.  It emerged last week that W&M's CEO, John Beard, had left the company, with no explanation given.  

At the weekend, reports suggested that chairman of the UB Group, Dr Vijay Mallya, had stepped down from W&M's board, along with director Ayani Nedungadi. Nobody from W&M or Diageo has been able to confirm the report. 

In a statement to just-drinks today (13 August), a Diageo spokesperson said: “The OFT is currently reviewing the UK aspects of Diageo’s shareholding in United Spirits Limited, which is standard procedure in such matters.

“As part of this process, Diageo has given undertakings to maintain the separate management and independence of Whyte and Mackay during the OFT review.”

The OFT probe is due to be completed by mid-September.


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