LONDON (AP) _ Grand Metropolitan PLC, a British food and liquor giant, said Tuesday its International Distillers and Vintners unit will buy a 49 percent stake in the French liquor company Remy Martin et Cie SA and a 19 percent holding in Cointreau et Cie SA.

Grand Met is buying the stakes from the Max Cointreau family. The remaining stakes in the companies are held by Cointreau family members.

The price tag is under 140 million pounds, or $231 million, said a Grand Met spokesman, who asked not to be identified.

Last November, Remy and Cointreau linked up to create a wines and spirits group with combined revenue of around 6 billion French francs, or $1 billion. The companies specialize in cognac, champagne and Cointreau.

The Grand Met spokesman said the two companies are combining and the final size of Grand Met's stake in the combination is yet to be determined.

International Distillers and Vintners has a distribution agreement with Cointreau in Europe.