Vivian Imerman eyes Whyte & Mackay acquisition as Diageo agrees to sell over competition concerns


Vivian Imerman, the man from Del Monte, has said he would be keen to buy Scotch whisky brand Whyte & Mackay from Diageo, after the drinks giant said it would sell the company to satisfy an Office for Fair Trading investigation.

Diageo, which produces Bells, had been accused of controlling too much of the blended Scotch whisky market after it recently bought a 25 per cent stake in United Distillers, which bought Whyte & Mackay from Imerman back  in 2007.

The company offered to sell the brand and today Imerman said he would take it off Diageo’s hands.

His private-equity firm, Vasari, said in a statement: “Whyte & 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.”

He sold the company to United Distillers in 2007 for £595 million, making a £400 million return on his initial investment.

A five-year restraint clause was put into the sale, meaning he could not offer to buy the business back over that time. It expired last year.

Imerman is best known for his time as chief executive of Del Monte and hit the news earlier this year following his £15 million divorce battle with Lisa Tchenguiz, sister of business tycoons Robert and Vincent.