From: Reuters
Published February 17, 2008 06:25 PM

Four bidders go through in Vin & Sprit auction: paper

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's centre-right government has chosen four bidders in its auction of Vin & Sprit that will be allowed to perform due diligence of the Absolut vodka maker, business daily Dagens Industri reported on Sunday.

The four selected bidders -- Fortune Brands Inc <FO.N>, Pernod Ricard SA <PERP.PA>, Bacardi and private equity group EQT in cooperation with investment firm Investor AB <INVEb.ST> -- have been widely seen as the front-runners to buy Vin & Sprit.

The newspaper, which did not disclose its sources, said the four bidders would proceed to more closely scrutinize Vin & Sprit in a due diligence process before finalizing their offers.

Vin & Sprit is to be sold as part of Sweden's biggest-ever privatization, which also includes stakes in telecom operator TeliaSonera AB <TLSN.ST>, Nordea Bank AB <NDA.ST>, mortgage lender SBAB <SBAB.UL> and real estate firm Vasakronan AB<VASA.UL>.

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The government this week sold its entire holding of just under 7 percent of shares in bourse operator OMX AB <OMX.ST> which is set to be acquired by Borse Dubai as part of a broader agreement with U.S. exchange operator Nasdaq Stock Market Inc

<NDAQ.O>.

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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