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NZ: Independent undecided on sale - report

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The owners of Independent Distillers are still mulling what to do with the New Zealand company.

Speaking to Dow Jones, UBS, which is acting as advisor to the Erceg family, said today (4 August) that the family is yet to decide what to do with the company. The future prospects for Independent Distillers were thrown into doubt in November, when company founder Michael Erceg was killed in a helicopter crash.

"The specific situation is we're working with the family on their options and at this point in time they haven't made a decision," UBS' head of investment banking NZ, Andrew Sutherland, told Dow Jones.

Among the interested parties thought to be circling the company are Diageo, who is rumoured to have secured a pre-emptive deal with Independent, and Halewood International, who already has licences for a number of the firm's brands in Europe, South Africa and Mexico.

Last month, however, Trans-Tasman group Lion Nathan approached New Zealand's competition watchdogs for clearance to bid for Independent should it choose to. The company is thought to be worth in the region of A$1.1bn (US$818m).


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Diageo, Lion Nathan

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