This weekend's press reports have thrown up two other interested parties in the potential Allied Domecq carve-up. At the same time, other reports have seen one player back away from the situation.

In yesterday's Sunday Times, it was reported that SPI, the Russian owner of Stolichnaya is interested in acquiring selected Allied brands. Although no sources were cited, the newspaper said that the company has also appointed investment bankers from HSBC Holdings to evaluate the implications of a change in owner of Allied on their joint venture to distribute and market Stolichnaya.

La Tribune, meanwhile, reported that Remy Cointreau is considering acquiring small spirits businesses from Allied should there be a break-up. Citing the company's CEO, Jean-Marie Laborde, the paper said that the Remy is not ruling out the acquisition of certain 'morsels' of Allied. Remy may be interested in Allied's rum and vodka brands, La Tribune noted.

Constellation, however, has said that it is not looking to buy some of the company's spirits brands. When asked to comment on a Wall Street Journal report, claiming Constellation was looking at possible Allied acquisitions, a spokesman told Reuters on Friday: "It's not a secret we are always interested in strengthening our spirits portfolio. (But) somebody is putting two and two together and getting six. We have not said we are specifically interested in acquiring any of the Allied spirits brands."

Finally, a report on the Financial Times Website on Friday said that a formal takeover offer for Allied will be announced by Thursday of this week. Citing people close to the situation, the report noted that Thursday is the day that Allied reports its interim financial results.