SWEDEN: Absolut owner to enter bidding for Seagram drinks

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Vin & Sprit the Swedish owner of Absolut is reported to be offering itself as a potential partner in the race to grab Seagram's wine and spirits division.According to the UK's Financial Times, Vin & Sprit has sent a letter to global liquor companies saying it believes it can enter into a new distribution agreement for the Absolut vodka brand. V&S is to use Absolut as leverage to gain a greater foothold on the international drinks scene and a stronger say into how its flagship brand is sold.In return for teaming up with one or more of the many suitors for Seagram's drinks, which include Pernod Ricard, Allied Domecq, Diageo, Bacardi, Brown Forman and Remy Cointreau, V&S is believed to want brands from the sale or a stake in the buyer.The letter strengthens suspicions within the industry of problems between V&S and Seagram, who currently distribute Absolut. Absolut is estimated to contribute up to a third of Seagram's drinks profits and the Canadian company is keen that distribution of the vodka be part of the package it auctions off.However, V&S's reluctance to comment on the deal has suggested that within its agreement with Seagram it has the right to renegotiate its distribution should Seagram's wines and spirits undergo a change of ownership.The Swedish state-owned company is said to want distribution of the brand to go to a buyer of its choice.

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