US: Fortune confirms V&S Sweden visit
A team of senior executives from Fortune Brands visited Sweden last week to discuss the possible sale of Vin & Sprit.
Speaking to just-drinks on Friday (14 September), a spokesperson for Fortune, which owns Beam Global Spirits & Wine, confirmed that among the visiting party was group CEO Norm Wesley and the CEO of Beam Global, Tom Flocco.
"We were in Sweden meeting with stakeholders in the process," the spokesperson told just-drinks. "We've expressed an interest in the privatisation of V&S, and we want to hear the concerns of interested parties." The spokesperson would not be drawn on whether the Fortune team had met with representatives of the Swedish government during the trip.
Speaking at a press conference last week, however, Wesley said: "It (V&S) is owned by the state and parliament controls the process and we have not come here to try to influence them to do anything but to try to anticipate what might happen."
Wesley also noted that the other contenders for V&S may have regulatory issues to deal with should it be sold. "We're the only one that is not listed as a competitor in the annual report," he said. "Others have conflicts. Diageo has Smirnoff, Pernod has Stolichnaya and Bacardi has Grey Goose. The antitrust authorities will decide how big those issues are."
The spokesperson highlighted that the Swedish government has still to decide what it intends to do with V&S. "The Government has not yet established a process," he said. "We've not yet heard."
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