Blog: Chris Brook-CarterContenders ready...

Chris Brook-Carter | 29 April 2005

The pace at which the Allied Domecq takeover story has developed has been remarkable and merely keeping up with it has been a job in itself this last month.

We hope therefore that you have found our members-only section, dedicated to the fight to win Allied’s hand, useful. The idea was to provide a one-stop shop of all the latest news and analysis on the deal, every day.

If you haven’t already done so then check it out at the link below.

From the latest readership figures, it certainly seems to be popular so it is a service we hope to expand in the future to other developing stories.

In the meantime, this one still seems to have the legs to keep us busy for sometime to come. The size of the prize and its unique position within the industry – it’s realistically the last opportunity to make a major acquisition within the spirits sector – have stirred interest from all the major players.

Pernod Ricard’s share price has fallen as Allied’s has risen over the past two days as news of a growing list of suitors emerges to challenge its bid. I will no doubt regret saying this, but my money is still on Pernod coming through victorious.

The French group’s bid is still the only one on the table so far and Constellation’s four-way partnership could end up being enormously complicated. The fact that Constellation’s consortium is backed by finance from outside the industry further strengthens the French group’s position, as it will be able to wring more cost savings, and therefore dig deeper, should a bidding war ensue.

Then of course there is Diageo. You feel the giant is chancing its arm a bit on this one, in the race – if indeed it is – to cause mischief and drive up the final asking price. I think CEO Paul Walsh would be as surprised as anyone was he to win the bidding and subsequently avoid the bureaucratic hammer of the competition watchdogs.

It could, in the end, come down to who wants it more, and Pernod has far more to lose should it miss out than its competitors.

For more on this story, click here


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