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Bruce Willis to take stake in France's Belvedere

US actor Bruce Willis, already the advertising face of Belvedere's Sobieski vodka brand, will take a 3.3 percent stake in the French company to help drive its marketing strategy.
Belvedere's statement on Tuesday lifted the company's shares as much as 6.6 percent to 34 euros in early trading, giving it a market value of around 85 million euros (US$122 million).
The stake of 83,000 shares will serve as payment to Willis, best known for the Die Hard movies, for a four-year deal to promote Sobieski worldwide, the company said.
Belvedere added on Tuesday that it expected sales of Sobieski, which was the family name of Polish monarchs, to more than double in the United States this year to around 5.18 million litres. Belvedere sought protection from creditors in July 2008 after breaking a bond covenant and has introduced a restructuring plan involving asset sales to help it exit the French "safeguard" procedure.
Les Echos reported today that Belvedere should receive more than five offers for its Marie Brizard liqueur.
Candidates include La Reunion cane sugar and rum group Quartier Francais, spirits firm La Martiniquaise and Moscow-based businessman Mark Kaufman, the paper said.
There was no immediate comment from the potential buyers.
A spokesman for Belvedere said the sales process for Marie Brizard was ongoing and that the company planned to take a decision by June 30. He had no comment on the details in the article in Les Echos.


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