ownership. Moreover, I am delighted to be able to pass on W&M into the hands of a new owner who is committed to realising the full potential of the business and whose vision for W&M is aligned with that of USL.”
After he took over the scotch whisky firm in 2007, Mallya had swung the distiller's focus towards reducing the bulk spirits business and developing its own brands such as Dalmore and Jura, though analysts believe it has not been very profitable.
The UK Office of Fair Trading in a ruling in November 2013 had concluded that Diageo's takeover of USL will likely lead to higher prices for retailers and consumers in the UK as W&M was one of the country's leading suppliers of blended bottled whisky to supermarkets and retailers. Bell's whisky, a Diageo label and W&M's own-label and branded blended whisky, are competitors in this space and a merger would possibly lead to substantial lessening of competition, it had observed.
“We believe W&M is a prized asset with an excellent growth opportunity and its acquisition is in line with our plans to enhance our product portfolio. W&M has a global distribution network in over fifty countries that Emperador brandy will have access to,” said Andrew Tan, the chairman of Emperador. “Whisky is the second fastest growing spirits segment in the world next to brandy. With this acquisition, Emperador will be exposed to two of the fastest growing spirits segments in the world.”
The shares of USL closed at Rs 2,777, up by 0.19% on BSE on Friday. The announcement came after market hours.