Whyte & Mackay for Distell?

The news that Diageo is seeking to dispose of part of whisky distiller Whyte & Mackay could be the purchase Distell’s new CEO Richard Rushton has been looking for to transform Distell into a serious player in the spirit world.  

Marvin Shanken of Wine Spectator fame reports “Diageo has offered to unload part of Whyte & Mackay in an effort to counter competition concerns from U.K. regulators. According to a statement from Diageo, the drinks giant has proposed the potential sale of Whyte & Mackay’s Scotland-based Invergordon, Jura and Fettercairn distilleries. The U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading is currently considering the proposal. The company does, however, intend to retain the unit’s Dalmore and Tamnavulin facilities. Diageo acquired Whyte & Mackay’s holdings in July as part of its takeover of India’s United Spirits Ltd. The Whyte & Mackay portfolio comprises the Dalmore, Jura, Cluny, John Barr, Glen Salen, Whyte & Mackay and Mackinlay’s whisky brands, as well as other offerings.”

viv 615x409 Whyte & Mackay for Distell?

Scotch sales are going gangbusters at the minute and Jan Scannell’s purchase of Burn Stewart has been a serious boon to Distell’s bottom line.  Three Ships in Wellington is expanding like a triffid, so could another foreign purchase be on the cards?

Whyte & Mackay was formerly owned by South African Vivian Imerman, the man from Del Monte, who sold the company to Indian whisky wonk Vijay Mallya for £585 million back in 2006 (£396 million according to the Daily Mail).  Viv is a friend of Johann Rupert, the ultimate owner of Distell, who was rumoured to be interested in acquiring Newcastle United footie club with Viv back in 2008.

Viv has finally divorced the fragrant Liza Tchenguiz and given her £15 million in a messy separation that had the whole of London entertained. Not yet 60, perhaps he’d like to become Johann’s go-to-man for whisky in the UK?