An Absolut Blockbuster

Maker of top-selling Smirnoff eyes second-place Swedish brand
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2007 11:35 AM CDT
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(Newser) – British beverage conglomerate Diageo, maker of best-selling vodka Smirnoff, is “very interested” in acquiring Sweden’s Absolut, the world’s second-largest vodka. Diageo says it isn’t worried about anti-trust problems, although its CEO tells Reuters “complexity will vary from market to market.” One easy market would be the US, where analysts say Absolut’s higher price tag puts it in a different category.

Absolut, one of the fastest-growing spirit brands in the world, is part of Sweden’s state-owned Vin & Sprit. V&S is among the big assets the government is seeking to sell, and Diageo is among four companies—including Bacardi—interested in buying it. Diageo said it is awaiting full financial details, and doesn’t yet consider the $6 billion company a “must have.”