The Speyside firm behind the world’s best-selling single malt whisky is among firms tipped for a £100million takeover of liqueur-maker Drambuie.
William Grant and Sons, based at Dufftown, is believed to be among an initial crop of bidders for the Edinburgh-based business.
Rivals are thought to include French group Remy-Cointreau, which counts the Bruichladdich single malt distillery on Islay in its drink portfolio.
A spokesman for William Grant, which boasts global market leader The Glenfiddich among its whisky brands, said the firm would not comment on speculation.
William Grant also makes The Balvenie single malt, Hendrick’s gin Sailor Jerry rum and Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey.
The Drambuie brand – a heather-honey and whisky drink said to be based on Bonnie Prince Charlie’s personal liqueur – was put up for sale by its owners, the MacKinnon family, earlier this year.
Analysts estimate the liqueur, which is produced in Glasgow by Suntory’s Scotch whisky arm Morrison Bowmore Distillers, is worth around £100million.
Whoever buys it will benefit from Drambuie’s global popularity and its recent rebranding, aimed at a younger market.
There is also the impressive history – legend has it that Captain John MacKinnon of Strathard was given the recipe after he gave shelter to Bonnie Prince Charlie on Skye.
The MacKinnons made the drink for themselves for generations before Malcolm
MacKinnon started producing it commercially, with just 12 cases, in Edinburgh in 1909.
It is thought drink giant Diageo and French company LVMH – whose luxury brands include Louis Vuitton handbags, Moet and Chandon champagne, Hennessy cognac and the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg single malt whiskies – are among firms that have decided not to bid for the brand.