Brown-Forman is to acquire the whole of Australian distributor Swift and Moore Pty Limited. The US wine and spirits group already owns 50% of the business, with Pernod Ricard holding the other 50% following the French company's acquisition of Allied Domecq earlier this year.

Brown-Forman said it would continue the exclusive distribution of its portfolio of brands (Jack Daniel's, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, Woodford Reserve and Tuaca liqueur) in Australia through Swift & Moore.

However, Swift & Moore is now also expected to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Brown-Forman in February 2006.

The changes are expected to result in the eventual elimination of approximately 35 positions in Swift & Moore, which represents less than 20% of the total workforce. These will primarily be in areas directly related to the marketing of Allied Domecq brands and other support roles, with virtually no change to the customer-facing sales force.

Pernod Ricard has decided to withdraw as 50% shareholder of Swift & Moore and to transfer distribution of Ballantines Scotch, Beefeater Gin, Kahlua, Malibu and Tia Maria Liqueurs to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Orlando Wyndham, in February 2006.

The president of Brown-Forman Spirits Asia-Pacific, Stuart Beck, said: "Swift & Moore has a long history with Brown-Forman brands, and an outstanding sales record in the Australian market. The decision to bring Swift & Moore into the Brown-Forman family is a natural extension of our current relationship and a reflection of our confidence in its ability to represent our brands and our company culture."