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7 Bids for Absolut

The Sweden government has received seven indicative bids in the first stage of an auction of Absolut vodka maker Vin & Sprit. Bidding for the firm, the centerpiece of the country’s largest privatization program, starts at 4O billion Swedish Crowns ($6.18 billion). More than 3O firms were invited to participate in the auction and analysts have said they expected a handful of serious contenders. The sale of V&S, which analysts have said could fetch as much as $7 billion, has drawn interest from Fortune Brands, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Sweden’s Investor in partnership with private equity firm EQT.