The Swedish government is considering keeping a stake in soon-to-be-privatised spirits producer V&S, local reports have suggested, while speculation is also growing that the sale price could fall due to the current turmoil on credit markets.

Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri cited sources yesterday (30 January) as saying that private equity firms Investor and EQT, who are thought to have tabled a joint bid, have suggested the Swedish government keep a stake in V&S, or retain an option to buy back a stake later in the event of a deal.

The paper added that the suggestion is an attempt by the companies to sweeten their bid in the eyes of the government, which is reportedly considering this as an option.

At the same time, Esmerk Swedish News reported that an analyst from Sanford Bernstein believes the price for V&S could be impacted by market volatility. The analyst forecast that V&S could be worth about US$6bn, compared with the general consensus that V&S is worth up to $7bn.

The sale of the owner of the Absolut vodka brand has drawn interest from Fortune Brands, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi, Diageo and Investor in partnership with EQT. Bain Capital and UB Group have also been linked to potential bids.