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April 15, 2005

UK: Press round up – AD, Pernod & Fortune Day 11

Constellation Brands is interested in some of Allied Domecq’s spirits brands, according to reports today (15 April).

Constellation Brands is interested in some of Allied Domecq’s spirits brands, according to reports today (15 April). The Wall Street Journal Europe, citing people familiar with the situation, says that the US-based company is not large enough to buy all of Allied, so is looking for other firms to join it.

While other large spirits companies are interested in acquiring some of Allied’s brands, the paper says, like Constellation they either are too small to buy the company outright or face issues with monopoly authorities.

Constellation, which bought Californian wine company Robert Mondavi last year to make it the world’s largest wine company by sales, has a market capitalisation of US$6.5bn, the paper notes. Allied has a present market value of around US13.4bn.

Constellation could struggle to find partners for an offer, the paper says. Simply negotiating among so many parties is complicated, while the most likely candidate, Diageo, already has such massive scale that it stands to gain little from participating in a joint bid, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

One potential candidate suggested by the paper is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton of France, which owns Dom Perignon champagne and Belvedere vodka and beat out a bid by Pernod in an auction for Glenmorangie whisky last year. An LVMH spokeswoman declined to comment to the WSJE.

Reports earlier this week suggested that Bacardi baulked at getting involved in any bids due to its acquisition of Grey Goose vodka company late last year leaving its coffers dry.

Other reports forecast that a Pernod/Fortune Brands bid will be unveiled next week.

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