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Mallya likely to announce Whyte and Mackay buy tomorrow

PTI  London, May 17, 2007
First Published: 22:48 IST(17/5/2007) | Last Updated: 22:52 IST(17/5/2007)

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya is expected to announce the takeover of British distiller Whyte and Mackay for 610 million pounds in Glasgow on Friday.

Once the deal is through, Mallya, the owner of United Brewery and Kingfisher airline, may use it as a springboard for a London listing of his fast-growing spirits empire.

Although a stock market listing of United Spirits, part of UB Group, is unlikely until Whyte and Mackay has been integrated into his existing drinks portfolio, a flotation in London is being considered as a longer-term option, a report in the Daily Telegraph said on Thursday quoting persons close to Mallya.

The flotation could be structured to include the entire United Spirits business or see its international assets - which would include Whyte and Mackay - spun out and listed separately, the report said.

London is favoured because of the presence of other internationally renowned drinks businesses such as Diageo and Scottish and Newcastle, with which Mallya has a joint venture in India.

The deal will net huge windfalls for Whyte and Mackay's owners, chairman Vivian Imerman and his brother-in-law Robert Tchenguiz, who bought the whisky distiller alongside West LB in 2001 for 200 million pounds.

Whyte and Mackay, which employs 600 people, had said last weekend that it expects to record a profit of more than 50 million pounds in the current financial year. It also expects to see annual growth of at least 20 per cent over the next five years.

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