Bacardi has formally tabled its takeover offer for New Zealand spirits group 42 Below.

The privately-owned spirits giant announced its move for 42 Below last month when it set out its plans to buy the company for US$91m.

Bacardi said late last night (2 November) that its bid, worth NZ$0.77 (US$0.52) a share was a "healthy" 35% premium to the value of shares in 42 Below when it announced its planned acquisition on 26 September.

"42 Below has done a fantastic job of boldly establishing this brand as 'New Zealand in a bottle' and we are excited about its growth prospects," said Andreas Gembler, president and CEO of Bacardi. "To make 42 Below a global brand requires substantial financial support, access to world wide distribution and marketing infrastructure which Bacardi is eager to offer."

42 Below chief executive Geoff Ross added: "Our national vodka brand can have the opportunity to become a global Kiwi icon."

The 42 Below brand, first sold in 1999, has become a leading super-premium vodka, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. It joins a Bacardi stable that already includes Grey Goose vodka, which the company bought for a reported US$2bn in 2004.