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UB to buy Whyte & Mackay for Rs 4,350 cr

Kausik Datta  |  Mumbai 

Largest M&A by an Indian firm, to be complete by January-end.
The Vijay Mallya-controlled United Breweries group is close to acquiring Glasgow-based distillers Whyte & Mackay for nearly £500 million (Rs 4,350 crore) by the end of this month.
This will be the largest buyout by an Indian company abroad, pipping Dr Reddy's Laboratories' acquisition of Betapharm last year for ¤480 million (Rs 2,736 crore).
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Sources close to the deal said United Spirits, a part of the group flagship United Breweries, might be the investment vehicle for the acquisition of Whyte & Mackay.
Advisers of both the were adding final touches to the deal with Citigroup advising Whyte & Mackay and UBS advising United Spirits.
The broad contours of the agreement suggest that the strike price represents a premium on an estimated £475 million bid in November, which was rejected by Whyte & Mackay's South African-born owners, Vivien Imerman and his brother-in-law Robert Tchenguiz.
Employees of Whyte & Mackay were informed to expect a new owner by the end of the month. Mallya is expected to retain the services of Whyte &Mackay group managing director Bob Brannan.
Whyte & Mackay's brands include Whyte & Mackay blended Scotch whisky, Dalmore single malt whisky and Vladivar vodka.
Once signed, this acquisition will be close on United Breweries' attempt to acquire Taittinger, the world's sixth largest champagne company, for £400 million.
United Breweries was founded by a Scotsman who merged four breweries in India in 1915, which was later acquired by the Mallya family.
This company is now the vehicle for the takeover of an established Scottish spirits group.
This acquisition will mark the end of any significant whisky group other than Edrington, owner of Famous Grouse, Macallan and Highland Park, being controlled from a Scottish headquarters.
RAISING A TOAST
This will be the largest buyout by an Indian company abroad, pipping Dr Reddy's Laboratories' acquisition of Betapharm last year for ¤480 million
United Spirits, a part of the group flagship United Breweries, might be the investment vehicle for the acquisition
Whyte & Mackay's brands include Whyte & Mackay blended Scotch whisky, Dalmore single malt whisky and Vladivar vodka
Mallya is expected to retain the services of the Whyte &Mackay group managing director Bob Brannan

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First Published: Wed, January 17 2007. 00:00 IST
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