Famous Grouse finds itself in the sights of a predator
Saturday 14 August 1999
Highland Distillers, which makes the flagship brand, confirmed that it had received an approach from an unnamed suitor. Analysts say the most likely candidate is a management buy-out team which could make a leveraged offer through Highland Distillers' associated business Robertson & Baxter.
A move to take the group private would avoid the possible complications of a third-party takeover, which would have to take into account Highland's cross-share arrangement with the French company Remy-Cointreau, and would have to accommodate recently announced distribution agreements.
Remy has a 9.5 per cent stake in Highland, and the Scottish firm holds pounds 105m of convertible debt in the private company that controls Remy.
A takeover bid would have to be agreed by Remy and Highland's other major shareholders: Edrington, a private family trust has a 27.9 per cent stake in the company, Britannic Assurance has a 5.3 per cent share and Prudential has 3.7 per cent.
Analysts also point to Highland's announcement on Thursday that it had signed a joint venture distribution agreement with Remy and US company Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, which they believe suggests a buy-out would be the preferred option.
Remy itself is not thought a likely contender for the Highland bid as the company is recovering from losses last year caused by unsuccessful derivatives trading. The firm recently sold its flagship Krug champagne brand and the firm's 350 per cent gearing also makes it an unlikely bidder. But Highland has a 35 per cent stake in Robertson & Baxter, a leading, unquoted Scottish biscuit firm. Highland acts as a supplier to the firm and the two companies have long had management links.
If Highland's shares are not taken up by a management buy-out, then the most likely contender is Pernod. The company recently raised pounds 2bn in debt, which analysts originally thought would be used to buy some of Allied Domecq's businesses. Another possibility is Bacardi, which recently bought the US-focused Dewers brand.
Jim Bean or Browns Foreman, the US company that owns Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort, have also been named as possible bidders. But analysts ruled out a potential UK buyer because of the size of the Famous Grouse brand, which is the country's second best selling blended whiskey after Bell's, owned by Diageo.
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...