NETHERLANDS: Diageo rubbishes Ketel One takeover talk
Sources close to Diageo have poured cold water on speculation that it may seek a full takeover of Ketel One vodka.
There has been fresh acquisition speculation around Diageo this week, after analysts at ING noted that the drinks giant could be subject to a put option requiring it to acquire the remainder of Ketel One vodka.
In June 2008, Diageo paid US$900m to acquire 50% of Ketel One and form a joint-venture on the vodka with the Nolet Group. From this month, marking the start of the fourth year since the deal, the Nolet family has a two-year window in which it can 'put' the remaining 50% of Ketel One to Diageo.
The Smirnoff distiller can reject the put option, but would have to pay US$100m by way of compensation.
A source familiar with the situation told just-drinks today (8 June) that, despite some reports to the contrary, Diageo has no option to buy Ketel One. "The Nolets would have to choose to sell their half," the source said.
In the original announcement for the joint-venture, Diageo said: "Both the Nolet family and Diageo consider this alliance to be perpetual. However, should either party ever decide to sell its stake in the company, the other party will have the right to purchase it at a price to be agreed."
A spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks today: "We are very happy with how the relationship is progressing."
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