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Former Whyte & Mackay CEO keen to repurchase business

The former CEO of Whyte & Mackay has expressed an interest in repurchasing the Scotch business from Diageo, should it be positioned for sale.

Whyte & Mackay
Whyte & Mackay’s former CEO Vivian Imerman is keen to repurchase the company, should it be placed for sale

Vivian Imerman, who is currently chairman of investment group Vasari Global, was CEO of Whyte & Mackay before its sale to India’s United Spirits in 2007.

Following the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) announcement last week that it would consider Diageo’s offer to sell the bulk of Whyte & Mackay in a bid to solve competition issues, Imerman has vocalised his interest in buying the business back.

In a statement, released through Vasari, Imerman “noted Diageo’s reported interest in selling the Whyte & Mackay business. If it is decided that Diageo will sell, Mr. Imerman has expressed an interest in buying it back.”

The statement continued: “Whyte and Mackay would make an important addition to the portfolio of spirits and beer businesses in Africa and Asia where Mr. Imerman has been concentrating his efforts through his company Vasari. The W&M brand would be complementary to the strategy of acquiring and growing businesses in these regions to take advantage of rapid consumer growth.”

Diageo had been the subject of a competition enquiry by the OFT since its acquisition of a majority share of United Spirits completed in July.

Having found “substantial competition” between Diageo’s blended whisky Bell’s and Whyte & Mackay’s own brand label, Diageo has offered to sell the bulk of the Whyte & Mackay business to alleviate concern.

Imerman is credited with tripling the value of Whyte & Mackay under his tenure as CEO in less than five years, and delivering £400m of equity value.



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