Two bids, at least, were submitted yesterday for the spirits and wine business of Seagram according to sources close to the deal, it was reported in today's Wall Street Journal.

And yet despite the progress in the auction it appears that the bidding for the business is likely to be extended into another round. The delay in a final decision may complicate matters, because with Vivendi's purchase of the Seagram business complete the French company may take a more active role in proceedings.

Final bids were due at 5pm yesterday. The Anglo/French bid of Diageo and Pernod Ricard submitted an offer of around $8bn for the business, sources said. Meanwhile the Brown-Forman and Bacardi team is believed to have bid around the same price.

The UK's Allied Domecq was also expected to have delivered a bid, but so far it has not been possible to determine whether this has happened.

The Diageo/Pernod Ricard bid is considered by many industry followers to be the most likely to win the race because of its superior financial muscle. The two, last week, signed an agreement setting out the terms of their joint offer that has apparently established a process to divide up the brands and prevent a lengthy and problematic antitrust review.