April 1, 2014 / 5:30 PM / 4 years ago

Pernod seeks buyer for Becherovka brand in Czech Republic-sources

LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) - Pernod Ricard is looking to sell its Becherovka liquor brand in the Czech Republic in a deal that could be worth up to $200 million, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Interested parties may include Stock Spirits Group, SPI Group and other eastern European-based interests, said the sources, who declined to be named as the matter is private.

The French wine and spirits company, the world’s second-biggest behind Diageo, is being advised by Societe Generale, said the sources. One source said non-disclosure agreements were sent out last week to possible bidders, while another said first-round bids were due this Friday.

Officials for Pernod, Stock Spirits and SPI declined to comment. Societe Generale was not immediately available.

Becherovka is made from a blend of plants and spices and is often drunk as a digestive, similar to Fernet Branca or Jagermeister.

Pernod Ricard, whose leading brands include Martell cognac, Mumm champagne and Absolut vodka, has been hurt by its exposure to China, where a government crackdown on graft-related gift giving has crimped sales of cognac, as well as weak trends in Europe. (Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris; Editing by David Holmes)

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