French liquor company Pernod Ricard may finally slake its thirst for a big acquisition. The company confirmed on Apr. 5 that it has teamed up with Fortune Brands (FO ) of the U.S. to bid for its bigger rival, Allied Domecq (AED ) of Britain, in a deal worth an estimated $17 billion. The two buyers would carve up Allied Domecq's brand portfolio, with the majority going to Pernod, vaulting it from global No. 3 to No. 2 behind Britain's Diageo (DEO ). Pernod, maker of Chivas Regal and Martell cognac, is looking for a stronger U.S. foothold, which Allied Domecq brands such as Stolichnaya vodka and Ballantine's whisky could provide. Fortune, maker of Jim Beam bourbon, could stock up on Allied Domecq's wines.

Edited by Rose Brady

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