Wholesaler Bestway admitted it had originally expressed informal interest in acquiring Appleby Westward when BWG's sale was announced by private equity owner Electra Partners in June 2006.
But a spokesman for Bestway rubbished the latest reports. "There's no truth in this. We did go down the route of a buyout before and nothing has come back from that since."
Bestway said it had no plans to renew its interest and believed BWG had no intention of responding. BWG confirmed that. "Appleby Westward is not for sale," said a spokesman.
Some trade sources claim Bestway's initial approach was sidetracked by BWG's eventual MBO. CEO Leo Crawford, group FD John O'Donnell and shareholder John Clohisey bought a 65% stake for €390m from Cognetas European Fund, formerly Electra Partners, last month.
With the MBO completed, rumours have been circulating of BWG re-examining possible disposals. The company sold off Bargain Booze to venture capitalist group ECI Partners for £63.5m in January.