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Grand Metropolitan

Grand Metropolitan
Industry Hotels
Holiday centres
Entertainment centres
Public houses
Fate Merged with Guinness plc
Successor Diageo
Founded 1934
Defunct 1997
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people
Sir Stanley Grinstead (Chairman)
Alan Sheppard (CEO)
Number of employees

Grand Metropolitan plc was a leisure, manufacturing and property conglomerate headquartered in England. The company was listed on the and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index until it merged with Guinness plc to form Diageo in 1997.

The business began in 1934 as a hotel business called MRMA Ltd (abbreviated from Mount Royal Metropolitan Association). Grand Hotels (Mayfair) Ltd, a business founded after World War II by Maxwell Joseph, merged with MRMA in 1957 and the combined business expanded rapidly under Joseph's leadership. It was first listed on the in 1961 and changed its name to Grand Metropolitan Hotels Ltd in 1962.

It diversified into catering acquiring Bateman Catering in 1967 and then Midland Catering in 1968. It then bought Express Dairies in 1969, the Berni Inn chain, and the Mecca bingo halls in 1970.

Next came its move into brewing, when in 1972 it bought Truman, Hanbury & Buxton and Watney Mann including the latter's subsidiary International Distillers & Vintners which owned the J&B whisky, Bailey's Irish Cream, Gilbey's gin, Piat wine and Croft sherry and port brands, as well as the European and Commonwealth rights to Smirnoff vodka. It changed its name to Grand Metropolitan in 1973.

In 1980 it bought Liggett Group, a US tobacco and drinks business. In 1981 it bought Warner Holidays and Intercontinental Hotels Corporation.



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