* Fortune buys Effen for undisclosed sum
* Deal gives Fortune a high-end vodka after losing Absolut
* Third owner for Effen in just a few months
* Fortune shares fall less than 1 percent (Adds details on brand history and size, stock activity)
CHICAGO, June 23 (Reuters) - Fortune Brands Inc FO.N said on Tuesday it acquired the Effen Vodka brand, adding a super premium liquor to its lineup months after losing the rights to sell Absolut Vodka in the United States.
Financial terms of the deal with Sazerac Co Inc were not disclosed. As part of the deal, Fortune sold the Old Taylor whiskey brand and inventory to Sazerac.
The move comes after Pernod Ricard PERP.PA bought Sweden's V&S and took full control over brands including Absolut last year, putting an end to a distribution pact that included Fortune.
Fortune's Beam Global Spirits & Wine division will be the third home for Effen in just a few months. In March, Constellation Brands Inc STZ.N sold Effen and some other spirits brands to Sazerac.
A spokeswoman for New Orleans-based Sazerac declined to comment on why the company chose to sell Effen.
Effen is produced in Holland and was named after the Dutch word for smooth, Fortune said.
Effen’s products include black cherry vodka and the line sells for about $25 to $30 per 750 ml bottle, making it a higher-priced brand than Absolut.
Effen will be a relatively small addition to Beam’s portfolio, with annual sales of more than 60,000 cases. Beam’s largest and best-known brand, Jim Beam bourbon, sells about 6 million cases per year. Its other brands include VOX vodka.
Effen has annual net sales of about $10 million with distribution concentrated in Chicago, Southern California and parts of Florida. Fortune said it aims to expand Effen into other U.S. markets and internationally.
Shares of Fortune Brands slipped 0.9 percent to $32.56 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Tim Dobbyn)
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