Pernod Ricard’s purchase of Absolut means it will divest itself of its distribution rights of Stolichnaya. Meantime, Fortune Brands, which has the U.S. marketing rights to Absolut through 2012, is likely going to get an offer from Pernod to buy out some of the years of that contract.
That leaves Stoli in the catbird seat, and the likely target of a bidding contest between Fortune and Bacardi, which lost out on the Absolut sweepstakes. Russian company SPI will soon have to negotiate a new deal for the international distribution rights for Stoli.
In that scenario, Bacardi would seem to have an upper-hand unless they divest the Absolut relationship first. The cash it could get from Pernod would bolster its offer to SPI, which is now grinning over the $9 billion sale of Absolut.