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UK: Moet Hennessy to acquire Glenmorangie

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The French luxury drinks company Moet Hennessy is to acquire Glenmorangie for £300m.

The French company has been considered one of the favourites to buy the Scotch whisky firm since it was put up for sale in August. It was believed Moet Hennessy was best placed to protect jobs at Glenmorangie because it had no existing Scotch operations.

And as the Stock market closed yesterday, Moet Hennessy said it would protect the employment and pension rights of the firm's 350 staff.

Moet Hennessy, which owns Champagne brands such as Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon, as well as Cognac company Hennessey, is jointly owned by French luxury goods group LVMH and the UK's Diageo.

The Macdonald family, which owns a controlling stake in Glenmorangie, has agreed to sell its 52% stake to Moet Hennessy and the deal is also being recommended by the company's board.

Glenmorangie chairman Keith Edelman said the deal would allow the company to "realise the full potential" of its brands, particularly in the export market.

"This is a very good deal for our shareholders and employees," he said.

Christophe Navarre, President of Moet Hennessy, said: "Glenmorangie is a fine whisky, a growing brand and a strong company. It will be a fitting companion for Moet & Chandon, Hennessy and our other prestige brands. We look forward to a prosperous future together."

The launch of the offer is expected to take place in November.

Brown-Forman, which was one of the other companies in the bidding process for Glenmorangie, is also selling its 10% holding.

In a statement today, the US-based group said it intends to tender its shares in Glenmorangie plc to Moet Hennessy Investissements for £51m (US$92m).

Under pre-existing contracts, Brown-Forman continues to have distribution and marketing rights for Glenmorangie brands in the US and marketing and representation rights for the brands in several European markets.

"We have tremendous respect for Glenmorangie, and we are proud of our success in building the Glenmorangie brands in the U.S and Europe to the point where they would demand such a premium price," said Owsley Brown II, chairman and chief executive officer of Brown-Forman Corporation.

The other companies beaten to Glenmorangie by Moet Hennessy included Edrington, Bacardi-Martini, William Grant & Sons and Pernod Ricard.


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