The deadline for the second round of bids for Vin & Sprit (V&S) has been set.

Following reports today (19 March) to that effect, just-drinks understands that the deadline for the second stage of bids for the Swedish state-owned company has been set for 27 March.

Reports today claim that the bids in this round are to be binding. Fortune Brands remains as the favourite of four remaining candidates to buy the maker of Absolut.

Last month, sources told just-drinks that Fortune is most likely to beat Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Swedish private equity group EQT, which is applying in cooperation with investment company Investor, in the bidding. 

Several other candidates, including Diageo, Carlsberg and France's LVMH, dropped their interest after a first round of indicative bidding that attracted about 25 expressions of interest.

V&S declined to comment on any of the processes of the sale when contacted by just-drinks today.