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Italy's Campari buys French brand Picon for 119 million euros

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian drinks group Campari has agreed to acquire French bitter aperitif brand Picon and related assets from Diageo for around 119 million euros ($125.7 million), Campari said on Tuesday.

With this deal the maker of Aperol and Campari bitters strengthens its position in France, the group's fourth largest market, in line with other recent acquisitions including French rums Trois Rivières annd La Mauny, and Champagne Lallier, it said in a statement.

Campari, which is the sixth largest premium spirits group globally, also widens its brand offering in its core bitter aperitifs category in international markets when Moet Hennessy is marketing its Moet Garden Spritz aperitif to challenge Aperol Spritz.

Picon is currently available in two versions -- Amer PiconClub, an orange-based liqueur to be mixed with wine and cocktails, and Amer Picon Bière, to be mixed with beer.

The Picon transaction was funded via available cash.

($1 = 0.9468 euros)

(Reporting by Cristina Carlevaro, editing by Giulia Segreti and Keith Weir)

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