Cautious optimism is probably the best way to describe today's press reaction to Pernod's friendly bid for Allied Domecq. While most observers point to Pernod's earlier success with Seagram in 2001, one recurrent concern is that Pernod has a lot of work ahead.

While the Daily Mail points out that the bid for Allied, with 80% in cash and the rest in shares, will stretch Pernod's balance sheet, Dow Jones says that, assuming no serious regulatory hurdles present themselves, this is a great deal for all involved.

The general feeling is that the hard work will come from the disentangling of the Allied drinks business as the brands and distribution networks are split between Pernod and Fortune Brands. Then there's the sale of the QSR assets to be pulled off, Dow Jones warns.

The Guardian concentrates on Allied, saying that chief executive Philip Bowman only approved the offer reluctantly. Bowman was frustrated, the paper claims, believing that Allied was better placed to lead the consolidation within the spirits industry. With an offer of 670p per share, however, (mostly in cash) Bowman felt obliged to take it to shareholders, the paper adds.

The Financial Times applauds Bowman, not only for turning Allied around during his tenure, but also for his willingness to sell out at the right price. The paper points to what it calls a lacklustre rise in volume and sales of Allied's core brands in H1 of 2%, also announced yesterday.

A full breakdown of the deal, including a look at Pernod's future plans, will appear on just-drinks early next week.