SWEDEN: V&S denies Allied is favoured Seagram winner
According to the UK newspaper Sunday Business, V&S, which owns Absolut vodka but has granted distribution rights to Seagram outside Scandinavia worth £2.2 billion, would favour Allied because it fears Diageo's ownership of the Smirnoff vodka brand could mean a "drawn-out investigation by regulators".
A spokeswoman for V&S told just-drinks.com: "This is purely speculation on behalf of the press. We would not like to comment."
Sweden's financial daily newspaper, Dagens Industri, however, quoted V&S finance director Rolf Cassergren as saying: "We are a piece on the board since we have a large involvement with Seagram. But there are lots of factors in who eventually wins the business."
Absolut accounts for 10% of the $665.5m profit generated by Seagram's drinks business, according to the paper.
Sources close to Allied Domecq said the company was "pleased with the positive publicity" but had no knowledge of any preferential treatment from V&S. "The auction has not even started and as yet we don't even know what is for sale and what is not," the source said.
Allied's CEO Philip Bowman said in an internal memo to the company's staff on Friday that the Diageo/Pernod Ricard bid was "no surprise" because "Diageo has previously made clear its interest in certain brands within the Seagram portfolio."
He doubts its success, however, because Diageo "would encounter major anti-trust problems in bidding for the whole business."
He reiterated Allied's previous commitment to participate in industry consolidation but said he would not be "drawn into overpaying and thereby destroying shareholder value."
Diageo is looking to change the image of one of its flagship brands in Colombia....
The US consumer goods group Fortune Brands has confirmed it is in talks about launching a joint bid with Pernod Ricard for Allied Domecq....
Diageo is to launch a new global advertising campaign for Smirnoff Ice. The first ad in the global campaign, 'Garden', launches in Great Britain on April 11th on terrestrial and satellite TV. ...
Fideuram Wargny has upgraded its rating of Pernod Ricard to 'buy' from 'hold'. Its analysts argue that the merger talks with Allied Domecq is a catalyst for share growth....
Diageo has completed another share buyback transaction....
Fortune Brands has started making moves to acquire in the European drinks industry, according to press reports....
E&J Gallo has announced a number of appointments within its European division....
Diageo's Smirnoff Signatures line of premixed cocktails is now available nationwide in the US....
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