LONDON — Two of Britain's biggest-ever takeover bids, together valued at nearly $5 billion, were launched Monday on the London Stock Market.
The food retailer Argyll made a long-awaited move to capture the Distillers whiskey group for the equivalent of $2.79 billion, and Imperial Group unveiled the terms of a $1.98-billion friendly merger with United Biscuits.
Distillers is Scotland's largest company, whose brand names include Johnnie Walker and White Horse Scotch whiskeys.
Argyll's offer of $2.79 billion for Distillers makes it the largest takeover assault in the history of the London exchange and one that market analysts said was bound to be bitter.
Capitalized at $1 Billion
Argyll is capitalized at about $1 billion, less than half the value of its prey, and Distillers immediately rejected the bid as "totally inadequate."