Interest In Whyte & Mackay From Former Owner
Investment firm Vasari is reported to be interested in buying Scotch whisky maker Whyte & Mackay from its parent company Diageo, following competition concerns over its recent acquisition of United Spirits Limited (USL).
Vasari is chaired by former Whyte & Mackay CEO Vivian Imerman, who sold the company to USL in 2007 for US$972.6mn. Vasari, which has focussed recent investments on food and beverage companies in Africa and Asia, is interested in Whyte & Mackay mainly because of the potential offered by beer and spirits in African and Asian markets. CEO Imerman has a history in the food and drink sector, having turned round the fortunes of Del Monte and Whyte & Mackay as CEO in the past.
Early in 2012, Vasari, along with Duet Group and TIRET Group, invested into the Ethiopian brewer Dashen Brewery with the largest private equity investment in the country at the time. Dashen is the only independent brewery in Ethiopia, with a market share of almost 20%. Earlier in 2013, Vasari won a bidding war for Cairns Zimbabwe, a struggling food manufacturing firm listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Vasari's experience within the emerging markets food sector and Imerman's ties with Whyte & Mackay will make the investment firm a natural front runner for the distiller.
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