Part 2 Consents
The Commission challenged Pernod Ricard SA’s proposed $9 billion acquisition of V&S Vin & Spirit as harmful to competition among suppliers of “super-premium” vodka. The proposed deal would have merged the two leading brands, Absolut and Stolichnaya, and allowed Pernod to raise prices profitably on both brands. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the markets for cognac, domestic cordials, coffee liqueur, and popular gin would be subject to anticompetitive effects because sensitive pricing and promotion information for Beam Global Brands, a competitor in these product markets, would be available to Pernod after the acquisition as a result of Beam’s joint venture with V&S. The Commission settled the charges by requiring Pernod to divest its distribution interests in Stolichnaya Vodka, and to erect a firewall to prevent the sharing of any competitively sensitive information from Beam Global Brands with Pernod employees.