Pernod wins auction for Vin & Sprit

Pernod wins auction for Vin & Sprit
The Swedish government said on Monday that it had sold the Vin & Sprit group (V&S) which owns Absolut vodka to the giant drinks group Pernod Ricard of France for €5.626 billion ($8.88 billion).

Swedish Financial Markets Minister Mats Odell said in a statement that Pernod Ricard had made the best offer of four on the table for the state-owned drinks group.

Absolut vodka would be Pernod Ricard’s number one brand.

Pernod Ricard, a global player after its acquisition last year of British group Allied Domecq, intended to keep V&S as a Swedish entity, based in Sweden, with continued responsibility for production and marketing in accordance with its established practice of decentralized management of key brands.

According to Odell, V&S’s current Swedish management team, lead by CEO Bengt Baron, will remain in place.

The total value of the transaction for V&S was equivalent to 55 billion kroner in accordance with the agreement signed on Sunday, the statement said.

“Through a carefully executed sale process we have achieved a very good transaction for V&S and for the Swedish people,” the ministry said.

“Pernod Ricard submitted an offer that on an overall assessment is the most attractive, including offering the highest purchase price of the four final bids.”

The board of V&S welcomed Pernod’s successful bid, taking an optimistic view toward the new owners.

“They take a long-term industrial view and have stated their ambition to continue to develop V&S’s operations. The Board sees considerable industrial logic in the deal,” it said in a statement.

The French drinks giant would acquire the whole company, excluding V&S’s 10 percent stake in Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., the American spirits company.

The three other candidates were the diversified US group Fortune Brands, the US family-owned group Bacardi and the giant Swedish holding company Investor AB in conjunction with an investment fund EQT Partners AB and a Fourth AP Fund, a Swedish pension fund.