Magners owner C&C Group has agreed to sell its spirits and liqueurs division to Scotch whisky-maker William Grant & Sons in a €300 deal.

Proceeds from the sale of premium brands Tullamore Dew, Carolans, Frangelico and Irish Mist would be used to cut group debt and allow C&C to focus on a “cider-led long drinks portfolio”, the company said.

However, C&C snapped up lager brand Tennent's last year after buying AB InBev's Scottish and Irish businesses.

The deal will expand William Grant’s portfolio into Irish whiskey for the first time, with the Scottish-based First Drinks owner having committed to continue operations in Ireland.

 “While the Division represents a comparatively small component of C&C’s overall earnings, the [sale price] reflects the quality of its brand portfolio and its strong market position,” said C&C chief operating officer Stephen Glancey.

“The group intends to reduce debt and invest to support the continued development of a cider-led long alcohol drinks portfolio.”

William Grant’s portfolio includes Grant's, Disaronno, Hendrick's Gin and Piper Heidsieck Champagne.

“William Grant has a rich history in Scotch whisky dating back to 1886 and we have been looking to further develop our non-Scotch portfolio,” said William Grant chief executive Stella David.

“Irish whiskey is a natural fit and the C&C spirits business provides a unique opportunity to acquire a number of significant brands, enter the Irish whiskey category and invest in and grow the value of these brands over the long-term.”

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