Babycham and Hardys Wine owner Constellation Europe is expected to sell its 50% stake in on-trade drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark, The Grocer has learned.

Insider sources revealed this week that Rothschild bank was trying to broker a deal to sell Matthew Clark on behalf of Constellation.

It is understood that the entire Matthew Clark Holdings operation, which includes Matthew Clark, Scottish-based Forth Wines and Wine Studio, a premium wholesaler, is for sale.

"There are rumours that both InBev and Heineken are interested in buying it," said one industry insider.

"Constellation obviously deals in brands and Matthew Clark is a very different business, with a logistic focus, depots and lorries so perhaps the two don't fit very well," said another industry insider.

The other 50% of the £537m-turnover wholesaler is owned by Punch Taverns, which was trying to raise money by selling several of its pubs, he added. "It would make sense for Punch to be trying to sell its stake in Matthew Clark too."

Caroline Flynn, a communications officer for Matthew Clark said she had "no information on the speculation at this stage", so was unable to comment any further on the matter, but added that it was "very much business as usual".

Rothschild, Punch Taverns and Constellation Europe declined to comment at this stage.

Constellation Wines announced 50 job losses across its UK operations last December, which it claimed was a direct result of the Government's increase in alcohol duty in November.