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Absolut Vodka put up for sale in Swedish privatisation

STOCKHOLM - Absolut Vodka if to be sold by the Swedish government as part of its offloading of six state-owned companies, including the drinks manufacturer Vin & Spirit, which owns the brand.

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The sale of V&S is understood to be worth an estimated £2bn and looks likely to be a hard-fought acquisition target, with Budweiser brewer Anheuser Busch, Bean Wines & Spirits and Pernod Ricard, all reported to be considering tabling bids.

Maud Olofsson, Swedish enterprise and energy minister, said: "State ownership should only exist if there is a motive for it. That's why we have chosen these six companies, because we don't think there is such a motive."

The Absolut brand has become a global force in the drinks market partially because of its iconic advertising campaigns, based on the distinctive bottle shape and created by Omnicom agency TBWA\Worldwide.

With more than 1,500 ads, beginning as far back as 1980, the campaign for the vodka is the longest-running to date.

In January, the drinks manufacturer launched "Absolut Kravitz", a campaign that include rock star Lenny Kravitz creating an exclusive song based on his interpretation of the brand.

The song was available online at and was part of a campaign including magazine and radio ads, which launched in mid-February 2006.

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