In the wake of rumours earlier this month [WAMN: 06-Apr-05], Gallic liquor titan Pernod Ricard on Wednesday launched a formal bid for the globe's second largest drinks company, Bristol (UK) headquartered Allied Domecq.

The deal is styled a "friendly takeover" by Pernod, implying it has the blessing of Allied's board. Partnering the French company in the planned acquisition is US conglomerate Fortune Brands, whose product portfolio ranges from booze (Jim Beam whiskey) via Moen faucets to Titleist golf balls.

A consummated union would dominate the world's booze trade, outgunning current sector leader Diageo, also UK-based.

The combined Pernod-Allied brand family would include global names such the eponymous Pernod and Ricard labels, Chivas Regal scotch whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Beefeater gin, Stolichnaya vodka, Malibu coconut rum and Jacob's Creek wines.

In addition to Jim Beam, Fortune would bring several extra bottles to the party, among them The Dalmore single malt scotch and DeKuyper's Dutch liqueurs.

But not everyone is 100% eager to join the shindig. Russian-owned Stolichnaya is distinctly unethusiastic over involvement in the deal and threatens to become a party pooper.

Which only goes to prove the old adage coined in the mists of prehistory. Never mix your drinks!

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff