Speculation is intensifying that three drinks companies are in the running to buy Casa Herradura.

The family-owned company told Reuters yesterday (24 July) that it had held preliminary talks with Pernod Ricard, Brown-Forman and Bacardi with a view to acquiring Herradura.

"There is interest in buying 100% ... and Herradura will listen," Herradura's public relations director Hector Quirarte told Reuters. "If at the end of the day the proposals are interesting, they will be analysed."

Quirarte also told the news service that no formal offer hd yet been made or a price set, but added that offers are expected within the next two months with a decision due by the end of this year.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Pernod Ricard said: "If it were true, we would not comment, if it were not true, we still would not comment."

Returning a request for comment yesterday, a spokesperson for Brown-Forman declined to comment on the claims. Bacardi also declined to comment yesterday.

Herradura's owners, Pablo and Guillermo Romo de La Pena, last year bought back a 25% stake it had sold to the company's international distributor, Grupo Osborne, in 2001. Whilst looking to sell the stake again, the brothers received interest in a total acquisition from, among others, Pernod, Brown-Forman and Bacardi, Quirarte told Reuters.

Quirarte was unavailable to talk to just-drinks when contacted this afternoon.