William Grant & Sons

In July 2014, William Grant & Sons, one of Scotland’s largest private companies, and owner of world-famous spirits brands such as Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Grant’s and Hendrick’s Gin, decided to make an offer to buy from the MacKinnon family the company that owned the whisky-based liqueur Drambuie. Knowing Shepherd and Wedderburn's corporate team was well-versed in M&A transactions in the food and drink sector, William Grant & Sons’ legal team approached us to advise on the acquisition.

Negotiations with the MacKinnon family’s lawyers followed and, a few short and fairly intense weeks after our first conversation, the transaction completed in the early hours of a Saturday morning. One of the most challenging aspects of the transaction was transporting the all-important secret recipe (which, legend has it, was handed to Captain MacKinnon on the Isle of Skye by Bonnie Prince Charlie following his defeat at Culloden) along Lothian Road at 3am to the Shepherd and Wedderburn vault for safe-keeping.

Since then, we have been delighted to work with the legal team at William Grant & Sons on a variety of matters, from advising on the company’s investment into the European Bartender School to assisting with GDPR compliance. We are proud to have established strong relationships with both the legal team and the wider business, and that our counsel extends beyond legal issues to the many exciting projects under consideration at any one time.

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Scotland in 2050: Realising Our Global Potential

Our lawyers are privileged to work with clients who are leaders in their industries and sectors, in Scotland, the UK and abroad. We are currently supporting businesses in more than 100 jurisdictions, advising on specific projects, helping them expand their overseas operations or supporting them in entering new markets.

Building on our unremitting focus on clients and the contribution they make to the economy, we have commissioned The University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute to undertake a major research project to help Scottish businesses, organisations and entrepreneurs best position themselves for the future. We have used fresh insights drawn from economic data and long-term global growth forecasts to inform a conversation with our clients and key industry contacts, which will help identify how they – and Scotland – can mitigate the challenges and seize the opportunities in the years ahead against the backdrop of a rapidly-evolving global economy.

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