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Diageo hopes Turkish deal will delight

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Diageo hopes Turkish deal will delight

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Britain’s Diageo has agreed to buy the Turkish spirits group Mey Icki for the equivalent of one and a half billion euros. The deal will give the world’s biggest spirits maker access to a fast-growing emerging market.

Mey Icki is number one in Turkey and the clear market leader in raki, the country’s most popular spirit. It also has an extensive nationwide sales and distribution network.

Diageo, which makes Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka, is buying Mey Icki from investment firms TPG Capital and Actera. The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2011.

The company said it aims to resolve Turkish tax issues that had delayed a deal in the next few weeks.

“Turkey is seeing rapid growth of its middle classes, so there is growth in local raki and vodka, while the deal provides a fantastic platform for Diageo’s international brands in Turkey,” the head of the firm’s Europe business, Andrew Morgan,

told a conference call.