The sale of Seagram's drinks business to Diageo and Pernod Ricard is not yet complete a spokesman for Pernod Ricard said today. "The deal is not closed. It could be signed very soon, and as soon as it will be, we will announce it," he told Dow Jones today. But "as long as it's not signed, there is no deal," he added.

According to earlier sources it had been believed that the announcement of the deal, expected early today, had been delayed due to French regulations.

But the Pernod spokesman refuted that claim, saying this was "false information". Paris stock market authorities have since confirmed there are no rules that would prevent a company making a deal public once it was closed.

Despite any last minute glitches in closing the deal the Diageo/Pernod consortium remains the strong favourites to clinch the business. Their bid is believed to be worth $8.15 billion with Diageo paying 61% of the cost and Pernod the remaining 39%.