We're less than three months into 2011, and Diageo is already eyeing its third deal to grab a bigger slice of the emerging market pie. Earlier today, we learnt that the Smirnoff distiller is in the running for Oaktree Capital Management's Stock Spirits, which leads the Polish and Czech drinks markets in volume terms.
The move for Stock Spirits follows Diageo's move to acquire Turkey's leading spirits producer, Mey Içki, for US$2.1bn, and its agreement to buy almost 24% of Vietnam's Hanoi Liquor Joint Stock Co for GBP33m. A deal that would see Diageo assume indirect control of China's Shui Jing Fang is also pending.
While there is no certainty that Diageo will bag Stock Spirits – the drinks giant will be going up against several private equity bidders - its interest in the group is another statement of intent from the firm, which has spent some time in Pernod Ricard's shadow of late.
And, with Pernod's CEO telling me late last month that he sees the company playing an active role in the future consolidation of the global spirits industry, Diageo's string of relatively smaller purchases could set the scene for yet more tussles between the two, this time in the emerging markets arena.
Speaking of Pernod, I finally managed to get our interview with CEO Pierre Pringuet out last week. Head over here to see what took me so long.
Until next time...