The European Commission has set a provisional date for the completion of its preliminary review of Pernod's bid for Allied Domecq. The Commission believes it will complete its initial antitrust review, requested by the two companies earlier this month, by 10 June.

As reported yesterday, the EU can either clear the deal after its month-long review, it could conditionally clear it or it could open an in-depth check which could take up to four months.

Citing analysts, Dow Jones reported today that a rival consortium headed by Constellation and Brown-Forman, which is conducting due diligence on Allied prior to a counter-bid, may not have enough time to put forward a bid if regulatory approval is granted at the first hurdle.

In other news, the Guardian said today that Richard Burrows, co-managing director of Pernod, has played down suggestions that relations with Allied throughout takeover discussions had been frosty.

"We had very friendly discussions and all the time within the context of a friendly approach," Burrows told the paper. While due diligence disclosures by Allied had been limited, Burrows conceded to the newspaper, they had been sufficient for Pernod to construct its bid.