Olly Wehring

Bacardi, Brown-Forman set to wed?

By: Olly Wehring - 20 April 2009 17:26

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Bacardi and Brown-Forman are the latest two drinks firms to find the media's M&A spotlight upon them, following a story in last weekend's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

just-drinks understands from a source familiar with the situation that contact has been made on a potential tie-up.

However, it is also understood that the process is not expected to move that quickly and that, should any deal eventually emerge, it is not considered likely this year.

Strategically, a deal between the two makes sense on paper. Both are medium-sized fish in a pond that contains the heavyweight giants Pernod Ricard and Diageo.

Bacardi and Brown-Forman already have a distribution tie-up in the UK named Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands.

John Wakely, an independent industry analyst with The Angels Share and an ex-investment banker, said he was sceptical about a merger in the near future.

Speaking to delegates at today's World Whiskies Conference in London, Wakely said that, while Brown-Forman may complete due diligence on Bacardi, it remains unclear whether all of Brown-Forman's controlling family want a deal.

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