Diageo has received bids from three companies for its coconut rum specialty brand, Malibu, which it placed on the market in December, according to sources.

So far, it is believed that Fortune Brands, Allied Domecq and Pernod Ricard have submitted offers for the brand which Diageo must sell in the next six months in order to comply with US regulatory requirements following its US$8.15 billion joint acquisition of Seagram with Pernod Ricard.

Diageo must dispose of Malibu before it can integrate the former Seagram rum brand, Captain Morgan, into its portfolio.

Diageo is thought to be seeking between US$900m and $1 billion for the brand though some analysts believe this is a little optimistic.

It is thought possible that Fortune Brands, owners of Jim Beam Bourbon, or Pernod Ricard may offer brands to Diageo as part of any deal. Other companies thought to be sizing up Malibu include Brown-Forman, Constellation Brands and Remy-Cointreau.

Meanwhile, the sale of Captain Morgan is being contested by the Puerto Rican rum group, Destilleria Seralles. The company maintains that it has first refusal on the brand and is trying to acquire it on behalf of Allied Domecq. Insiders have suggested that Allied will withdraw from that particular battle if their direct bid for Malibu is favourably received by Diageo.