The FTC has shot down part of an M&A agreement under which Pernod Ricard’s is proposing to spend $9 billion to acquire Swedish spirits company V&S Vin & Sprit. The reason? It’ll bring two high-end vodka brands together under one owner. Despite the fact that there will still be plenty of options for vodka drinkers in the USA, the FTC recognized that combining the Absolut and Stolichnaya brands would give too much market power to Pernod Ricard. Pernod wouldn’t even own Stolichnaya – it would just have distribution rights — but it has agreed to divest those rights to please FTC.
Further, a firewall would have to be built between Pernod and interests V&S has via a joint venture with Beam Global involving four other drink categories. "The proposed acquisition would have brought together the two leading suppliers of super-premium vodka, and raised concerns about the exchange of information in four other distilled spirits markets," said Jeffrey Schmidt, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.
RBR/TVBR observation: So a high-end vodka combo is a no go, despite the presence of numerous other vodka options, while the only two satellite audio companies in existence are allowed to merge without comment? Amazing.