INDIA: United Spirits mulling Whyte & Mackay sale?
Whyte & Mackay has declined to comment on reports that it could be sold by its parent company in the coming months.
A report in The Sunday Times yesterday (8 March) cited unnamed sources as claiming that United Spirits, which bought Whyte & Mackay in May 2007 for US$1.18bn, would look to sell off the company in its entirety. Last month, reports out of India suggested that United Spirits was looking to divest a 49% stake in the Scotch whisky company.
When contacted by just-drinks, a spokesperson for Whyte & Mackay: "It is company policy not to comment on market rumour or speculation."
Speaking to a separate source close to the situation, however, just-drinks understands that Whyte & Mackay is unaware of any plans to be divested. A spokesperson for United Spirits, which is owned by Vijay Mallya's UB Group, was not immediately available for comment.
The Sunday Times' report claimed that French drinks company La Martiniquaise would be the only serious contender to buy Whyte & Mackay, should the Scottish company become available.
As well as considering the sale of Whyte & Mackay, UB Group is also in talks with Diageo, reportedly over the possibility of the UK company taking a 15% stake in United Spirits. The conglomerate is deep in debt, having made a number of high-profile purchases at the height of the credit boom.
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