Diageo boss Paul Walsh has admitted that the UK drinks multinational is keen to buy Moët Hennessy – but only if the price is right.
Rumours have been rife since April that Diageo, which already holds a 34% stake in its French rival, would be interested in acquiring the remaining 66% of the company.
Speaking after Diageo’s full-year results presentation, CEO Walsh said, ‘If the 66% is available, we would be interested. Beyond that, I think it’s inappropriate for us to comment. But yes, at the right price we would be interested.’
Moët Hennessy, part of the huge LVMH luxury goods group controlled by Bernard Arnault, is viewed as a good strategic acquisition for Diageo, which has no Champagne or Cognac brands in its otherwise formidable portfolio.
Walsh added that Diageo was financially strong enough to take advantage of acquisition opportunities. It would almost certainly require a rights issue to fund a takeover of Moët Hennessy, which could cost €12bn.
Arnault recently sold Château Cheval Blanc to Moët Hennessy, fuelling speculation that a deal with Diageo could be imminent.
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Written by Richard Woodard