Diageo to exit from majority of Whyte & Mackay assets
A Reuters report revealed that Diageo PLC will be selling most of its assets in Whyte & Mackay. The divestments were reportedly undertaken by the company in order to address competition concerns when it acquired a majority interest in Indian company United Spirits Limited back in July.
Diageo is a known multinational alcoholic beverages company with headquarters stationed in London, England. Other liquor brands under Diageo include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Bailey's and Guinness, all touted to be the bestselling liquor in their market segments. The company also owns 34% of Moët Hennessy, of which the latter owns popular brands like Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy. As of May 2013, its market capitalization was reportedly at GBP48.9 billion, and was regarded as the eight largest company on the London Stock Exchange.
Diageo obtained a 25% controlling stake in United Spirits. The Indian company is the owner of whisky brand Whyte & Mackay and part of the empire of industrialist Vijay Mallya.
On Monday, the the world's biggest spirits maker said it would be assisting the Office of Fair Trading in the UK regarding the government agency's evaluation of its deal. Diageo also said that it will be making an official announcement in due course.
On Monday, the anti-competition authority said Bell whisky, which is already owned by Diageo, directly competes with the own-label and branded blended whisky of Whyte & Mackay. The Office of Fair Trading also said that the consolidation would risk running into a significant decrease in competition in the blended whisky market, providing a decrease in options to retailers.
In this reasoning, Diageo prompted to sell the distilleries of Invergordon, Jura and Fettercairn, including all of its central operations. However, Diageo decided to retain the Dalmore and Tamnavulin distilleries. The said distilleries provided the whisky supply to United Spirits and primary international markets.
Shares of the UK company jumped 1.2% at 12:24GMT at GBP20 per share.