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Diageo pulls out of Absolut race

Published:  23 July, 2008

Diageo has bought a 50% stake in vodka brand Ketel One, in effect, ruling itself out of the race for Absolut.

It has agreed to pay $900 million for its 50% share in the 1.9m cases a year brand. The Nolet family will contiue to own the brand rights and Diageo will become the global distributor.

Paul Walsh, chief executive, Diageo, said: This transaction is strategically important for Diageo, giving us an interest in an outstanding high quality brand and fantastic potential for global growth in the super-premium vodka segment."

Ketel One is made in Holland and is mainly sold in North America in the premium vodka market. Diageo also owns vodka brands Smirnoff and Croc.

The deal should be completed by March 31 2008.