You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Competish spirited for Seagram liquor biz

Diageo, Pernod battle with Allied in bidding war

NEW YORK — Interest in Seagram’s liquor business is heating up as two European congloms said Friday that they plan to bid jointly for the unit.

New partners Diageo of the U.K., the world’s biggest liquor group, and Pernod Ricard of France will most likely be going up against giant Allied Domecq. That could trigger a bidding war that may push the price of the Seagram division as high as $9 billion, Wall Streeters speculated.

Diageo brands include Johnny Walker, Guinness and Burger King, while Pernod owns Wild Turkey bourbon, Havana Club rum and Orangina.

Allied Domecq, which hasn’t said publicly that it plans to bid, holds Ballantine’s Scotch, Canadian Club whiskey and Beefeater gin, as well as the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins chains.

Seagram is selling off the beverage biz as part of its planned acquisition by France’s Vivendi, which Seagram execs have said they expect to close in November. The combined company will use sale proceeds, which were initially anticipated to be somewhere in the $7 billion range, to help pay down debt.

Certain members of the Seagram family, most of whom will wind up with Vivendi stock and no involvement in the day-to-day running of the new entity, are also said to be eager to buy back the historic spirits biz they founded years ago. Seagram owns brands Chivas Regal, Martell cognac, Crown Royal Canadian whiskey and Captain Morgan rum — along with lucrative distribution rights to Absolut vodka.

“For us, the more bids the better,” said a person close to Seagram.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content