Pernod director reveals Allied share trades

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Pernod Ricard, the French drinks group bidding £7.4bn for Allied Domecq, has revealed an embarrassing purchase of Allied shares by Richard Burrows, its director general and one of its main board directors leading the offer for its drinks industry rival.

Pernod Ricard, the French drinks group bidding £7.4bn for Allied Domecq, has revealed an embarrassing purchase of Allied shares by Richard Burrows, its director general and one of its main board directors leading the offer for its drinks industry rival.

Mr Burrows, in effect Pernod's number two after its chairman and chief executive Patrick Ricard, traded in Allied shares for his personal account in September last year.

A spokesman for Pernod said that the share purchases complied with internal procedures. He said there had been discussions in relation to Allied Domecq, but that these had ended when Mr Burrows made his purchase. In detailed documents relating to the bid published yesterday by Allied, it is revealed that on 3 September Mr Burrows paid £33,442 for 7,350 Allied shares pricedat 455p. The shares are now worth £51,009. The disclosure was made as a requirement of the City's takeover code rule 24.3.

The spokesman for Pernod said: "Last September there were no discussions with Allied. The share purchase was one of a number of investments made in various companies including other consumer goods companies."

In February, press reports said Pernod had gone as far as to appoint bankers to advise on a bid for Allied, which itself revealed in early April that it had received an offer approach from Pernod, the details of which were announced on 21 April .

Yesterday's document from Allied to its shareholders was sent with a letter from Sir Gerry Robinson, the company's chairman. He warned that the disruption caused by the Pernod offer, and the intention of a rival consortium led by the US group Constellation Brands to make an offer, could have a short term impact on trading.

Constellation Brands has been given a "put up of shut up" ultimatum from the Takeover Panel to table an offer. The group, which also includes Brown Forman and private equity groups Blackstone and Lion Capital, have been told they must make an offer by 29 June.

Allied said it was still working closely with the consortium to help it formulate an offer that is expected to be pitched around 700p, compared to Pernod's cash and shares offer that values Allied at 670p.

Yesterday's document detailed further details of Pernod's offer. These include an agreement to honour all the Allied directors' share option schemes and to waive non-compete clauses from their service contracts.

Philip Bowman, the Allied chief executive, will leave with a pay-off of about £15m if the Pernod deal goes through.

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