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United Spirits to sell Whyte & Mackay for £430 mn; Diageo set to clear norms over Vijay Mallya firm

UK's Office of Fair Trading found Diageo's $2 bn takeover of United Spirits anti-competitive.

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi |
May 9, 2014 10:04:17 pm

United Spirits Ltd will sell UK arm Whyte & Mackay for 430 million pounds (about Rs 4,360 crore) to Philippines-based Emperador in a bid to clear a regulatory hurdle related to Diageo’s acquisition of the company formerly controlled by Vijay Mallya.

The United Spirits board had recommended that its indirectly owned subsidiary United Spirits (Great Britain) Ltd consider the sale of Whyte & Mackay Group to Emperador UK Ltd, a unit of Emperador Inc, “for an enterprise value of 430 million pounds”, the company said in a BSE filing today.

“United Spirits (Great Britain) has approved the sale and entered into the sale and purchase agreement with Emperador UK and Emperador Inc,” it added.

In November, UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found Diageo’s USD 2 billion takeover of United Spirits to be anti-competitive, stating the deal might lead to reduced competition in the supply of blended whisky to retailers.

However, the sale of Whyte & Mackay will be subject to Indian and UK regulatory approvals, including that of the Reserve Bank of India, since United Spirits will write off a significant amount of loans given to the UK arm, it said, without specifying the exposure.

“I am delighted to be able to pass on Whyte and Mackay into the hands of a new owner who is committed to realising the full potential of the business and whose vision for Whyte and Mackay is aligned with that of USL,” United Spirits Chairman Mallya said in a statement.

Emperador is an integrated manufacturer and distributor of brandy and other alcoholic beverages.

“Whyte and Mackay is a prized asset with excellent growth opportunity and it’s acquisition is in line with our plans to enhance our product portfolio,” Andrew Tan, Chairman of Emperador, said in the statement.

Whyte & Mackay has a distribution network in over 50 countries that Emperador Brandy will have access to, he added.

United Spirits acquired Whyte & Mackay in 2007 for about 595 million pounds (then Rs 5,000 crore). A distiller of Scotch whisky, Whyte & Mackay’s brands include The Dalmore, Isle of Jura, Glayva, Fettercairn, Vladivar vodka and Whyte & Mackay blended Scotch.

In 2012, Diageo said it would pick up a 53.4 per cent stake in United Spirits in a multi-structured deal for Rs 11,166.5 crore. It was able to acquire a 25.02 per cent stake for Rs 5,235.85 crore.

Diageo, the world’s largest liquor maker, last month made a Rs 11,448.91 crore offer to public shareholders of United Spirits to acquire an additional 26 per cent stake in another bid to acquire a controlling stake in the company.

United Spirits shares rose 0.19 per cent to Rs 2,777.35 at the close on the BSE Sensex.


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