Ireland’s C & C Sells Liquor Unit To Grant

DUBLIN (AP) -- Irish drinks maker C&C has sold its whiskey and other liquor brands to the family-owned Scottish distillers William Grant & Sons in a euro300 million ($399.75 million) deal, the two companies announced Friday.

The sale, to be concluded by June 30, would give William Grant a stable of niche Irish brands including Tullamore Dew whiskey, Irish cream liqueur Carolan's and herb-and-honey liqueur Irish Mist.

And it would help C&C climb out of its debt and focus on its key seller in Britain and Ireland, the market-leading alcoholic cider labels Bulmers and Magners.

William Grant is the largest privately owned distiller in Scotland, ranking third in production behind global drinks giants Diageo of Britain and Pernod Ricard of France. It produces several of Scotland's best-known whiskies, including the single malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie and the blend Grant's.

Investors welcomed C&C's offloading of its spirits division, which has struggled to build market share in Britain and Ireland versus Diageo and Pernod Ricard brands. Those two companies own the major Irish whiskey labels.

Shares in C&C, originally known as Cantrell & Cochrane, rose 4.4 percent to euro3.59 ($4.78) in afternoon trade.

William Grant Chief Executive Stella David said the company wants to build its non-Scotch brands.

"Irish whiskey is a natural fit and the C&C spirits business provides a unique opportunity to acquire a number of significant brands, enter the highly desirable and dynamic Irish whiskey category, and invest in and grow the value of these brands over the long term," she said.

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