PARIS (AP) -- French wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard said it is taking full control of the distribution of its Vin & Spirit brands, including Absolut Vodka, as of October.
The announcement of the end of a distribution deal with Maxxium for non-U.S. sales follows the early termination of Pernod's distribution contract with Future Brands Inc. in the U.S., also for its Vin & Spirit brands, announced last week.
Pernod said in the spring that it had won the bidding to acquire Vin & Spirit, Absolut's parent company.
Pernod Ricard and French rival Remy Cointreau SA, both shareholders of Maxxium together with The Edrington Group and Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc., said Wednesday the four partners had agreed to end their distribution deal earlier than anticipated.
Pernod said it is paying Maxxium a fee of 59 million euros ($85 million) for release from its contract, which was intended to run for two years following the acquisition. Remy said it will pay 224 million euros ($323.48 million) to withdraw all of its brands from the distribution agreement in March 2009. Beam Global Spirits & Wine and The Edrington Group announced a new sales and distribution alliance.
Pernod, which owns its stake through Vin & Spirit, and Remy will stop being shareholders of Amsterdam-based Maxxium Worldwide BV in March, redeeming each of their 25 percent stakes for 60.4 million euros ($87.22 million).
Pernod said the agreement will enable it to realize cost synergies sooner than expected through an accelerated integration of Absolut. Remy said it expected to have new distribution agreements in place by March.