Scott Dobbie The Guinness Bid for Distillers

22 September 2019

This lecture by Scott Dobbie was on the dramatic events surrounding the bid by Guinness for the Distillers Company in 1985. The Guinness acquisition of Distillers Company which took place in the mid-1980s was the last major bid before ‘Big Bang’.

The instigator was incoming professional management to Guinness which bought first Bells Scotch Whisky, then made the much more aggressive bid for Distillers, seen by many as an underperforming giant.

Scott Dobbie then of Wood Mackenzie was the broker to Guinness in the build-up and during the bid, after which his firm resigned the Account, and he became a prosecution witness in the trial on conspiracy charges of the major participants. Scott discussed the background to this bid, the visible and less visible activity during its conduct, and the manner in which the conspiracy unfolded.

Scott Dobbie has a background in stockbroking and was Managing Partner of Wood Mackenzie and subsequently Chairman of successor firms. More recently he has acted as a non-executive Chairman or Director in a number of public Companies, largely in the Financial sector.

He is a former Chairman of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and of CRESTCo, the settlement utility. On the regulatory front he served on the Boards of the Securities and Futures Authority, and of Jersey Financial Services Commission, and was a member of the Regulatory Decisions Committee of FSA. He now works principally with Deutsche Bank Group as non-executive Chairman of DB UK Bank Ltd., and as Trustee of a number of Group pension funds.

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