GUINNESS owner Diageo is said to be plotting to buy the drinks giant Beam, less than a week after Beam increased its Irish whiskey business.
Beam agreed a deal to buy US-based Irish whiskey firm "2 Gingers" last week and, earlier this year, paid more than €70m to buy John Teeling's Cooley Distillery.
Yesterday, however, it emerged that Diageo was considering a bid for a number of Beam's brands, and its Irish whiskey business is thought to be a prime target.
Diageo has apparently held talks with the Japanese distiller, Suntory, about putting together a joint bid for the American giant, which is worth an estimated €7.5bn.
The talks are not taking place at present and Diageo is not believed to have made a formal approach to Beam yet.
However, London-based Diageo, which counts Guinness and Smirnoff Vodka among its numerous brands, is also thought to have held talks with private equity companies in an effort to put together a bid.