The investment bank WestLB is thought to have sounded out the boss of Scotch whisky group Whyte & Mackay about buying the bank's 30% stake in the company.

The move has been prompted by the announcement that Robin Saunders, the head of the German bank's principal finance division, is to step down at the end of the year.
According to reports in the UK press today, Whyte & Mackay chairman Vivian Imerman is to be offered the shares and at least one report said he is ready to bid for the stake.

The Observer quoted a spokeswoman for Immerman saying: ""He would be prepared to buy the shares, if the price was right." It is thought any deal would value W&M at around £300m.

Immerman already owns a 60% share in W&M.

Close to 10% of the company is held by former managers and WestLB bankers. These include Saunders, who helped complete the the management buyout of the distiller from Jim Beam Brands in 2001.