Italian drinks group Davide Campari Milano SpA went on an acquisition spree and bought Carolans Irish cream liqueur, Frangelico and Irish Mist liqueurs from privately-owned Scottish whisky group William Grant for $ 169 million. The Milan based company which owns Skyy vodka, Glen Grant whisky and the bitter red aperitif has hinted at more acquisitions.

Chief Executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz announced this on Thursday.

According to a Reuter's report, the deal will take Campari's net debt to 2.5 times its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) but well below the 4.25 times limit on its banking covenants. Kunze-Concewitz however declined to reveal much about the company's plan to spend on further deals.

Campari is paying 7.5 times 2009 EBITDA for the brands as compared to an industry average of 17 times. Kunze-Concewitz said the company is looking forward to strengthen the brand in the US market, the largest and the most profitable in the world.

Campari has made 17 acquisitions in the last 15 years; last year's $575 million purchase of Wild Turkey Kentucky bourbon whiskey being the biggest so far. The company is taking aggressive measures to catch up with its five top global rivals in the spirits market -- Diageo, Pernod Ricard privately-owned Bacardi, Brown-Forman and Fortune Brands.