Fortune had already appointed investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston and approached agencies about financial comms support for the deal (PRWeek, 15 April).
The move comes in the same week that Pernod is expected to make a firm offer. It has been reported that any successful deal could value AD at up to £7.5bn.
Fortune's role could be pivotal as any Pernod/AD deal would need the approval of competition regulators. It is likely that Fortune would pick up the main brands that the Pernod/AD company would have to spin off in order to satisfy regulators. AD's cognac brand Courvoisier has been tipped as one such brand.
Pernod already owns Martell, so a merger with AD without the disposal of Courvoisier would give the new firm more than 60 per cent of the UK cognac market.