Whyte, Mackay in advanced sale talks with UB Group
Scottish spirits maker Whyte & Mackay confirmed on Saturday it was in "advanced" talks over a possible takeover by India's UB Group.
"This business is extremely valuable to us on a standalone basis and we understand why UB Group has been so interested in acquiring us given their additional capability to sell and market our brands in all key growth markets, including India and China," Whyte & Mackay said in a statement.
"While negotiations are in an advanced stage no deal has been done."
UB unit United Spirits Ltd., the world's number three spirits maker, has 60 per cent of the India market. But it is keen to add brands, such as Whyte & Mackay blended scotch, Isle of Jura and Dalmore single malts, to its portfolio as it competes with larger Diageo Plc in India and elsewhere.
UB Chairman Vijay Mallya told reporters in Shanghai on Friday that the asking price for Whyte & Mackay was 700 million pounds ($1.4 billion).
He did not indicate how much he was willing to pay, but said UB would make a decision on a possible deal in two weeks.
"Whyte & Mackay is delivering very attractive growth. Our profits this year will be more than 50 million pounds and will grow at least 20 per cent a year over the next five years," Whyte & Mackay said in its statement.