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Diageo to sell Malibu as Seagram
deal is approved

NEW YORK - Diageo will be forced to sell its Malibu rum brand after the US Federal Trade Commission approved the sale of Seagram's spirits and wine business to Diageo and Pernod Ricard.

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The approval finally came through yesterday -- a year after the Seagram sale was agreed. As Diageo will acquire the Captain Morgan rum brand in the £5.6bn deal, the FTC has ordered it to dispose of Malibu within six months, to avoid creating a rum duopoly.

The sale of Malibu is predicted to raise some £600m. It has a 5% share of the US market, but Captain Morgan holds a 21% share. Both brands fall way behind Bacardi, which holds a 51% market share. Companies thought to be interested in Malibu include Brown-Forman, maker of Jack Daniels, and Allied Domecq.

The sale of Seagram's spirits division will also see Diageo taking control of the Crown Royal and VO Canadian whisky brands. Pernod Ricard will pick up the Chivas Regal whisky brand and Seagram's Extra Dry Gin.

Vivendi Universal decided to dispose of the Seagram drinks business in order to focus on its media and entertainment offerings. Other assets sold include the Oddbins wine chain, bought by French group Castel Freres, owner of the Nicolas chain of wine shops. Bourbon brand Four Roses will be bought by Japanese brewer Kirin, and Mumm Sekt is to be taken over by Germany group Rotkappchen Sektkellerei.

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