Booze hounds take note.


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liquor business, which includes such well-known labels as Chivas Regal, Captain Morgan's Rum and Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey, will likely become part of the




beverage empires.

The two have been widely talked about as likely acquirers of Seagram's liquor unit. French water and communications provider


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-- which recently

acquired Canada's Seagram for $24 billion -- put Seagram's wine and spirits business on the auction block in September.

This morning,

The Wall Street Journal

wrote that the sweepstakes over Seagram's lucrative alcohol business was nearing a final round, and the winner looks like it will a joint bid from France's Pernod and Britain's Diageo. The deal is valued at $8.15 billion.

According to the paper, the pair will divvy up the Seagram's brands. That will help Diageo, the world's largest liquor company, avoid some of the antitrust concessions that might be required.