Constellation Brands ends merger talks

NEW YORK Wed Apr 7, 2010 9:43pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. wine and spirits maker Constellation Brands Inc (STZ.N) said on Wednesday it ended discussions with Australian Vintage (AVG.AX) over combining the companies' Australian and British wine operations.

Constellation's Chief Executive Rob Sands said the two companies mutually came to this decision.

The U.S. company will continue to operate its Australian and British businesses, according to a statement, focusing on cutting costs and increasing efficiencies.

Constellation, owner of Robert Mondavi wines, has been pruning its portfolio, closing facilities and cutting jobs in an effort to reduce its debt load.

Shares in Constellation closed down almost 1 percent on Wednesday at $16.84. The shares have climbed almost 6 percent since the start of the year

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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