Brown-Forman and Bacardi-Martini are emerging as the frontrunners to pick up whisky maker Glenmorangie following the Macdonald family’s decision to sell its controlling stake.
Although Allied Domecq, Diageo and Pernod Ricard might be interested, Brown-Forman or Bacardi-Martini would probably win in the event of a bidding war, said one analyst.
“Brown-Forman already has a 10% stake and a US distribution agreement and Bacardi does the European distribution. Glenmorangie has performed solidly in recent years and the family has probably picked a good time to cash in.”
Gerrard analyst David Liston said the rating on the shares would make it hard for potential buyers to justify the price: “I don’t see the likes of Allied Domecq paying over the odds just to get their hands on it.”
Private equity interest was unlikely as trade buyers would have the advantage of being able to realise synergy benefits in bottling, distribution and warehousing, he added.
A preferred bidder should emerge by October, with a sale expected before the end of the year, the company said.