Raft of deals in the offing

At the same time it is mulling an option to spend $900m on the 50% of Ketel One vodka it doesn’t already own. So Diageo is being highly active, even without the perennial interest in Moët Hennessy or a mention of any participation in a possible break up of Beam Global once that receives a separate Wall Street listing.

Beam itself might go on the acquisition and merger trail simply to deter potential bidders. A link with Brown-Forman to form an American spirits giant based on bourbon and whiskey is being regularly mooted, despite potential regulatory problems in Washington. Meanwhile, Bacardi is forging closer links with Sapporo in Japan.

In Europe both Rémy Cointreau and Davide Campari have announced that they have war chests available should a suitable target be identified, and although Pernod Ricard has ruled itself out of major acquisitions until next year, it is inconceivable that it would sit on the sidelines if the right opportunity presented itself. Indeed, it is also inconceivable that it is not identifying targets (such as a major Tequila brand) during its period of financial purdah.

All the global groups want to augment their positions in growing markets, especially through acquisition of strategic local premium brands, and most have strong balance sheets with which to finance them. We are entering an interesting 12 months.

Finance on Friday, 24.06.2011

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