Pernod Ricard may not make an official bid for Allied Domecq for several months.

It was believed that the French group would make its approach for Allied on Thursday however analysts Merrill Lynch said that a formal offer was unlikely to emerge for at least two months.

Merrill Lynch did say that Pernod will confirm its interest in bidding for its British rival alongside Allied’s six-months results statement on Thursday and could announce that it has entered exclusive negotiations with Allied’s board.