Allied Domecq shareholders toast Pernod buyout

5th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, July 4 (AFP) - Allied Domecq investors Monday backed a multi-billion pound takeover of the British drinks group by French peer Pernod Ricard, effectively creating the world's second-biggest spirits and wines company.

LONDON, July 4 (AFP) - Allied Domecq investors Monday backed a multi-billion pound takeover of the British drinks group by French peer Pernod Ricard, effectively creating the world's second-biggest spirits and wines company.

An overwhelming 99.8 percent voted to approve the cash and stocks offer launched in April and worth GBP 7.4 billion (EUR 10.7 billion), Allied said in a statement.

European Union and US regulators, as well as Pernod shareholders, had already approved the takeover, though the acquisition remained subject to the approval of the Canadian antitrust authorities.

Allied Domecq, whose leading brands include Beefeater gin, Tia Maria and Teacher's whisky, said it expected the takeover to become effective on July 26, making the combined group the biggest distiller after Britain's Diageo.

Pernod, whose brands include The Glenlivet whisky and Havana Club rum, has offered the equivalent of 670 pence (EUR 9.87) per share for Allied, a premium of 24.8 percent compared with its closing share price on April 4.

Allied's shares closed up 0.22 percent at 682.5 pence in London, while the capital's FTSE 100 of leading shares ended 0.45 percent higher at 5,184.30 points.

A late rally by Pernod saw it gain 1.05 percent to EUR 134.2 in Paris, outperforming the CAC 40 which fell 0.12 percent to 4,264.60 points.

Addressing the start of the meeting, Allied Domecq chairman Gerry Robinson urged shareholders to follow the board in backing the bid to create the number one spirits company outside the United States.

"The recommended offer from Pernod Ricard provides Allied Domecq shareholders with the ability to crystallise the value that has been achieved and the possibility of continuing to participate in the future success of Allied Domecq's brands within an enlarged Pernod Ricard business," he said.

Pernod on Friday said that US authorities had given the green light for its proposed takeover of Allied Domecq, maker of Beefeater gin, Tia Maria and Teacher's whisky.

The French group's bid is being made with assistance from US peer Fortune Brands, which produces Jim Beam bourbon. Pernod has agreed to offload some of its drinks to Fortune Brands to resolve competition issues.

European Union regulators have agreed to approve the deal as long as Pernod sold its Scotch whiskey brands Glen Grant, Old Smuggler and Braemer and Portuguese brandies 1920 and CR and F.

Pernod's shareholders meanwhile have backed an increase in the company's share capital, mainly to finance the deal.

A consortium led by US group Constellation Brands, the biggest seller of wines in the world, recently decided against a counter-bid for Allied Domecq, worth a reported USD 14.0 billion (EUR 11.8 billion), after holding a series of talks with the British company.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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