Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Rivals toast whisky takeover
The Famous Grouse is one of the UK's top-selling whiskies
Highland Distillers, maker of The Famous Grouse and Macallan scotch whiskies, have accepted a joint £601m takeover bid from rivals Grants and Edrington.
The deal values Highland shares at 425p - 59% more than the company's value before speculation about the bid emerged last month.
Grant's, maker of Glenfiddich and Grant's whiskies and Edrington, which makes Cutty Sark scotch, will run 112-year-old Highland in a specially formed division called The 1887 Company.
A spokesman for the bidders said limited redundancies may take place at Highland's head office in Perth, but that the bulk of its 300-strong workforce was safe.
The Famous Grouse is Britain's second best selling blended whisky after Bell's, with Teachers in third place.
But despite good home sales, Highland Distillers profits and sales fell in the first half of the year.
Last month, shares in Highland Distillers jumped following confirmation that the firm had received a takeover approach.
Bryan Johnston, a whisky analyst with Bell Lawrie White stockbrockers, said at the time: "I suspect that what has happened is that the Robertson family, who through various cross holdings have about 28% of Highland Distillers and about 50% of the brand of The Famous Grouse itself, have probably frankly got fed up with the lacklustre rate of the share price."
"They have a great commitment to the quality of their product and I suspect they are behind this and are probably going to take it private."