Takeover Duo to Dismember Allied Domecq

22 April 2005

Pernod Ricard of France and its ally Fortune Brands of the USA, successful bidders for Allied Domecq, the globe's second largest wine and liquor group, have revealed their post-takeover plan.

Details were revealed Thursday of the €10.85 billion ($14.21bn; £7.44bn) done deal. Burke and Hare, the infamous Victorian bodysnatching duo, would have been proud of the Pernod-Fortune stratagem: grab and dismember.

Initially, Pernod will buy 100 percent of Allied Domecq - then sell off certain brands to its US partner, for which Fortune will pay Pernod €4.1 billion. Fortune gets Maker's Mark bourbon, Canadian Club whiskey, Sauza tequila, Courvoisier cognac and Californian wine brand Clos du Bois.

Pernod retains a basket of prestigious names such as Stolichnaya vodka, Ballantine's scotch, Kahlua liqueur, Malibu rum, Tia Maria cream liqueur, most of Allied's large wine portfolio and Beefeater gin. To avoid antitrust difficulties with the latter, Pernod will dispose of its own Larios gin label to Fortune.

But there remains a question-mark overhanging Stolichnaya, far and away Allied's bestseller in the important US market. Its Russian manufacturer is reportedly unenthusiastic over the carve-up, alhough Pernod professes optimism it will retain the contract to distribute the voom-voom vodka stateside.

As to Allied's three US food chains - Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo's - Pernod expects no problems in disposing of the properties, which analysts believe will realize a minimum of $1.5 billion .

Meantime, contrary to an ealier report [WAMN: 21-Apr-05], the planet's number one booze purveyor, Diageo of the UK, rests secure on its Olympian heights, unthreatened by the scurryings below.

But in one segment at least, it is about to be overtaken by Pernod. Of the world's top-selling 100 liquor brands the French company currently owns thirteen and will shortly up this to 20, thereby leapfrogging Diageo's seventeen.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff