French liquor group Pernod Ricard SA is buying Vin & Sprit, the maker of Absolut vodka, for $9.24 billion, the Swedish government said Monday.

The deal ends months of speculation over who would take over the state-owned liquor group, which is being sold by the government as part of a privatization effort.

"Pernod Ricard submitted an offer that on an overall assessment is the most attractive," the government said in a statement.

It said the French company intends to keep Vin & Sprit based in Sweden, adding the deal includes the whole company, except for Vin & Sprit's 10 percent share in U.S. spirits company Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

The deal is to be completed during the summer.

Vin & Sprit was last year put up for sale by the government as part of a broader sale of state assets in a move to pay off the country's debt.