LONDON Dec 5 Spirits group Diageo Plc
said it would consider buying out the 50 percent of premium
vodka brand Ketel One it does not already own if it came on the
The owner of Smirnoff vodka paid $900 million in 2008 to
acquire half of Ketel One and form an exclusive marketing and
distribution joint venture with the brand's Dutch founders, the
"If they did decide they (Nolet) wanted to sell, we'd be
interested in looking at it," said global brand director Peter
Fairbrother at a meeting with journalists ahead of an investor
presentation on Wednesday.
Diageo is fuelling its push into fast-growing emerging
markets through acquisitions. It bought a majority stake in
Indian-owned United Spirits last month and it is in long-running
talks to buy tequila maker Jose Cuervo.
The Nolet family had been making vodka in the Netherlands
for 10 generations, when the Ketel One brand's popularity with
U.S. bartenders caught Diageo's eye in 2008, as it worked to
turn around declining sales growth of the white spirit.
Diageo said vodka grew 4.7 percent outside the former Soviet
Union in 2012 and formed 12 percent of the net sales value of
Diageo, which also sells drinks such as Johnnie Walker whisky
In its key U.S. market a focus on expensive celebrity
endorsements from the likes of Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Madonna
had paid off, the company said, while the launch of new Smirnoff
flavours such as fluffed marshmallow and whipped cream had
performed above its expectations.