Seagram’s liquor and wines business – which includes such world famous brands as Absolut vodka, Captain Morgan rum, Chivas Regal whisky and Martell cognac - is shortly to go up for auction with a Seagram management team among a bevy of bidders. The in-house squad is led by president and chief executive of the wine and spirits group, Steven J Kalagher.

There will be tough competition: Britain's Diageo and Pernod Ricard of France announced on Friday that they will be making a joint offer, while another British drinks giant, Allied Domecq, will also compete for the prize. Other alliances are anticipated, with Bacardi and Brown-Forman, maker of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey, tipped to unite for a bid.

Seagram changed hands in June for around $27 billion when French media conglomerate Vivendi bought the group for its movie and music assets, announcing that it would divest itself of the drinks business. This posted revenues of $5.11 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, with $727 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

News source: Wall Street Journal