Jim Beam Brands (JBB) and Vin & Sprit (V&S) are forming a joint venture called Future Brands for the distribution of V&S's brands in the United States.

The $740m (£518.8m) deal, will leave Maxxium of the UK with the global rights to distribute Absolut vodka outside the United States.

Seagram previously distributed Absolut before it sold its drinks portfolio to Pernod Ricard and Diageo.

JBB's senior vice president, Michael Donohoe, will be chief executive of Future Brands.

V&S will take a 25% stake in the Maxxium distribution venture, which was set up in 1999 by JBB, Remy Cointreau and Highland Distillers.