Allied Domecq, the international drinks retailer, is expected to ask French drinks group, Pernod Ricard, to confirm this week whether it is considering a takeover bid, according to newspaper reports.

Pernod, whose drinks include Martell cognac, Jacob’s Creek wine and Chivas Regal whisky, has reportedly consulted with banks to investigate the feasibility of a deal with Allied.

The combined sales of the two companies amount to two-thirds of those of rival Diageo.

Reports also note that Diageo could be interested in buying Allied’s wine business from Pernod should a takeover be successful.