March 31, 2008 / 6:05 AM / 10 years ago

Pernod buys Absolut vodka firm for $8.87 billion

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA) said on Monday it had won an auction to buy Sweden’s Vin & Spirit AB VSG.UL, the maker of Absolut vodka, in a deal worth 5.63 billion euros ($8.87 billion) including debt.

Empty bottles are washed on a production line at the Absolut bottling facility in Ahus in this photo taken July 17, 2007. REUTERS/Bob Strong

The French company said it expected synergies of 125-150 million euros before tax, with no impact on earnings per share in the first year after the purchase but “a significantly positive” effect thereafter.

The Swedish government, which currently owns V&S, confirmed the result and said Pernod would keep the company in Sweden.

Pernod Ricard, U.S. spirits maker Fortune Brands FO.N, Bermuda-based Bacardi, and Sweden-based private equity group EQT had been in the running to buy the maker of Absolut, the world’s third-largest premium liquor in terms of volume.

Reporting by James Regan

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